Prevalence of uterine and adnexal involvement in pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis: a clinicopathologic study of 10 patients

Am J Surg Pathol. 2011 Dec;35(12):1776-85. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e318235edbd.


Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), a systemic disorder affecting almost exclusively young women, is characterized by the abnormal proliferation of smooth muscle-like cells (LAM cells). LAM can occur either in association with the tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) (TSC-LAM) or without TSC (sporadic LAM). Recent studies have demonstrated that LAM is a neoplasm arising from constitutive activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin signaling pathway dysregulated by a functional loss of TSC genes, but the primary organ of origin remains unclear. Therefore, we performed histologic and immunohistologic analyses of gynecologic organs in 20 patients, half with and the other half without pulmonary LAM, to determine how often LAM involves the uterus. The results showed that 9 of 10 (90%) patients with pulmonary LAM had uterine LAM lesions. In contrast, no patients without pulmonary LAM had so. All uterine LAM lesions were accompanied by LAM lesions in retroperitoneal or pelvic lymph nodes and LAM cell clusters, each enveloped by a monolayer of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3-positive lymphatic endothelial cells. Furthermore, when we compared uterine lesions of TSC-LAM with those of sporadic LAM, proliferation of HMB45-positive epithelioid-shaped LAM cells and infiltrates with a tongue-like growth pattern was more prominent in the former, whereas the extent of lymphangiogenesis within the myometrium was greater in the latter. These results indicate that uterine involvement is a common manifestation of LAM, and, possibly, that the uterus or an adjacent locale in the retroperitoneum or pelvic cavity is the primary site of origin of LAM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adnexa Uteri / pathology
  • Adnexal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Adnexal Diseases / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis / epidemiology
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Uterine Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology*