Cystic lung disease

Radiologia (Engl Ed). 2022 Dec:64 Suppl 3:265-276. doi: 10.1016/j.rxeng.2022.09.005.


The term cystic lung disease encompasses a heterogeneous group of entities characterised by round lung lesions that correspond to cysts with fine walls, which usually contain air. The differential diagnosis of these lesions can be challenging, requiring both clinical and radiological perspectives. Entities such as pulmonary emphysema and cystic bronchiectasis can simulate cystic disease. High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) is the imaging technique of choice for the evaluation and diagnosis of cystic lung disease, because it confirms the presence of lung disease and establishes the correct diagnosis of the associated complications. In many cases, the diagnosis can be established based on the HRCT findings, thus making histologic confirmation unnecessary. For these reasons, radiologists need to be familiar with the different presentations of these entities. A wide variety of diseases are characterised by the presence of diffuse pulmonary cysts. Among these, the most common are lymphangioleiomyomatosis, which may or may not be associated with tuberous sclerosis, Langerhans cell histiocytosis, and lymphocytic interstitial pneumonia. Other, less common entities include Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome, amyloidosis, and light-chain deposit disease. This article describes the characteristics and presentations of some of these entities, emphasizing the details that can help differentiate among them.

Keywords: Amiloidosis; Amyloidosis; Birt-Hogg-Dubé; Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome; Bronquiectasias quísticas; Bronquiolitis folicular; Cystic bronchiectasis; Emphysema; Enfisema; Follicular bronchiolitis; Histiocitosis de células de langerhans; Honeycombing; Langerhans cell histiocytosis; Linfangioleiomiomatosis; Lymphangioleiomyomatosis; Lymphoid interstitial pneumonia; Neumatocele; Neumonía intersticial linfoide; Panal; Pneumatocele; Pulmonary cyst; Quiste pulmonar.

MeSH terms

  • Cysts* / diagnostic imaging
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell* / diagnostic imaging
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial* / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial* / pathology
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis* / pathology