European Radiology

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 735–743 | Cite as

Effects of sirolimus in lymphangioleiomyomatosis patients on lung cysts and pulmonary function: long-term follow-up observational study

  • Cherry Kim
  • Kyung-Hyun DoEmail author
  • Jaehyung Cha
  • Jin Woo Song
  • Sang Min Lee
  • Ki Yeol Lee



To determine whether sirolimus has beneficial effects on lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) lung cysts in CT with long-term follow-up (FU) and to investigate whether CT is an appropriate imaging biomarker to monitor and evaluate LAM progression.


In this retrospective study, 73 female patients diagnosed with definite LAM between May 2001 and June 2018 were included. Among these, 39 (53.4%) were treated with sirolimus. Quantitative and qualitative CT scoring for lung cysts (CS) were performed and compared between time points (baseline vs. FU at starting sirolimus, baseline vs. last FU, and FU at starting sirolimus vs. last FU for patients treated with sirolimus; baseline vs. last FU for patients without sirolimus). The correlation between CS at each time point and pulmonary function tests (PFTs) at each time point in the patients treated with sirolimus was also investigated. The quantitative and qualitative analyses and PFT results were compared between time points.


In both quantitative and qualitative analyses, CS significantly increased from baseline to FU after starting sirolimus, and from baseline to last FU (all p < 0.05), whereas there was no significant difference between scores at the start of sirolimus vs. last in the patients treated with sirolimus. After sirolimus treatment, diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) was significantly increased. There were significant correlations between CS at each time point and PFT (correlation coefficient [r], − 0.383–0.935; all p < 0.001).


Patients with LAM benefited from sirolimus. CT could be a useful imaging biomarker for evaluating and monitoring lung cysts in LAM.

Key Points

• Qualitative analysis showed a total of 15.8% to 21.1% of patients had a reduced lung cyst volume after sirolimus treatment, and in quantitative analysis, there was no significant difference in lung cyst volume between CT at the start of sirolimus therapy and the last CT.

• Pulmonary function was also improved or maintained after sirolimus treatment.

• Chest CT could be a useful imaging biomarker for evaluating and monitoring lung cysts in patients with lymphangioleiomyomatosis.


Multidetector computed tomography Lymphangioleiomyomatosis Respiratory function tests Sirolimus Tuberous sclerosis complex 



Diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide


European Respiratory Society


Forced expiratory flow 25–75%


Forced expiratory volume in 1 s


Ratio of FEV1 to FVC


Forced vital capacity




Mammalian target of rapamycin


Pulmonary function test


Residual volume


Total lung capacity


Tuberous sclerosis complex



The authors state that this work has not received any funding.

Compliance with ethical standards


The scientific guarantor of this publication is Kyung-Hyun Do.

Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article.

Statistics and biometry

One of the authors has significant statistical expertise.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was waived by the Institutional Review Board.

Ethical approval

Institutional Review Board approval was obtained.


• Retrospective

• Observational

• Performed at one institution

Supplementary material

330_2019_6412_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 (DOCX 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cherry Kim
    • 1
  • Kyung-Hyun Do
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jaehyung Cha
    • 3
  • Jin Woo Song
    • 4
  • Sang Min Lee
    • 2
  • Ki Yeol Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Ansan HospitalKorea University College of MedicineAnsan-siSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Radiology and the Research Institute of RadiologyUniversity of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical CenterSeoulSouth Korea
  3. 3.Medical Science Research Center, Ansan HospitalKorea University College of MedicineAnsan-siSouth Korea
  4. 4.Department of Respiratory Medicine and PulmonologyUniversity of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical CenterSeoulSouth Korea

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