Efficacy of sirolimus in children with lymphatic malformations of the head and neck

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2022 Aug;279(8):3801-3810. doi: 10.1007/s00405-022-07378-8. Epub 2022 May 8.


Purpose: Children with extensive lymphatic malformations of the head and neck often suffer from functional impairment and aesthetic deformity which significantly affect the quality of life and may be life-threatening. Treatment with sirolimus has the potential to improve symptoms and downsize lymphatic malformations. This systematic review summarizes the current information about sirolimus treatment of lymphatic malformations of the head and neck in children, its efficacy and side effects.

Methods: A systematic search of the literature regarding studies on sirolimus treatment of children with lymphatic malformations of the head and neck was performed in PubMed, Embase, and Google Scholar up to July 2021 with the search terms "lymphatic malformation", "lymphangioma", "cystic hygroma", "low-flow malformation", "sirolimus", "rapamycin", "mTOR inhibitor" and "children".

Results: In all, 28 studies including 105 children from newborn to 17 years treated with sirolimus for lymphatic malformations of the head and neck were analyzed. The most frequent initial dose was 0.8 mg/m2 per dose, twice daily at 12-h interval. The target blood level differed between studies, 10-15 ng/mL and 5-15 ng/mL were most often used. More than 91% of the children responded to sirolimus treatment which lasts from 6 months to 4 years. Typical side effects were hyperlipidemia, neutropenia and infections.

Methods: Sirolimus could be an effective treatment for children with large complicated lymphatic malformations of the head and neck. As not all patients will benefit from treatment, the decision to treat sirolimus should be made by a multidisciplinary team.

Keywords: Children; Lymphatic malformation; Rapamycin; Sirolimus.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Head
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lymphatic Abnormalities* / drug therapy
  • Neck
  • Quality of Life
  • Sirolimus / adverse effects
  • Sirolimus / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Malformations* / chemically induced
  • Vascular Malformations* / drug therapy


  • Sirolimus