Lymphangioleiomyomatosis: pathogenesis, clinical features, diagnosis, and management

Lancet Respir Med. 2021 Nov;9(11):1313-1327. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(21)00228-9. Epub 2021 Aug 27.


Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a slowly progressive, low-grade, metastasising neoplasm of women, characterised by infiltration of the lung parenchyma with abnormal smooth muscle-like cells, resulting in cystic lung destruction. The invading cell in LAM arises from an unknown source and harbours mutations in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) genes that result in constitutive activation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, dysregulated cellular proliferation, and a programme of frustrated lymphangiogenesis, culminating in disordered lung remodelling and respiratory failure. Over the past two decades, all facets of LAM basic and clinical science have seen important advances, including improved understanding of molecular mechanisms, novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, effective treatment strategies, and comprehensive clinical practice guidelines. Further research is needed to better understand the natural history of LAM; develop more powerful diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive biomarkers; optimise the use of inhibitors of mTOR complex 1 in the treatment of LAM; and explore novel approaches to the development of remission-inducing therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis* / etiology
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis* / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Sirolimus / therapeutic use


  • Sirolimus