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Rapamycin for lymphangioleiomyomatosis: optimal timing and optimal dosage
  1. Kai-Feng Xu1,
  2. Xinlun Tian1,
  3. Yanli Yang1,
  4. Hongbing Zhang2
  1. 1 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China
  2. 2 Department of Physiology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kai-Feng Xu, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, China; xukf{at}

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Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) occurs predominantly in women in one of two forms: sporadic LAM and LAM associated with the autosomal dominant genetic disease tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Its clinical presentation includes dyspnoea, pneumothorax, chylothorax and renal angiomyolipoma. Many patients exhibit mild symptoms at the time of diagnosis, and their lung function then gradually declines. In the end-stage of LAM, lung transplantation is the only option. Due to mutations of either TSC1 or TSC2 gene, aberrant activation of mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) causes TSC and/or LAM.1 2 There were no effective therapeutics for LAM until the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin (sirolimus) exhibited efficacy in an open-label study published in 20083. The efficacy of this drug was confirmed in the randomised, double-blinded Multicenter International Lymphangioleiomyomatosis Efficacy and Safety of Sirolimus (MILES) trial.4 Primarily based on findings from the MILES study, sirolimus has been approved for the treatment of LAM in Japan and USA. In recent guidelines for LAM issued by the American Thoracic Society and the Japanese Respiratory Society, rapamycin is recommended for patients with reduced lung function.5

A real-world observational study by Bee and colleagues that appears in Thorax expanded our knowledge regarding two important questions: when and how much rapamycin could be used to treat LAM.6 In a prospective cohort comprising 47 patients during a 3-year follow-up, the authors found that (1) patients with LAM with a shorter duration of disease and less severely impaired lung function responded better to rapamycin; (2) different dosages of rapamycin produced similar benefits and (3) lower doses had fewer side effects. Therefore, early treatment with low-dose rapamycin may better preserve lung function …

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  • Contributors KFX: planning, writing and being responsible for the overall content. XT and YY: collecting materials. HZ: writing.

  • Funding The National Natural Science Foundation of China (81570061), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0901502, 2016YFC0905101) and Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Project (Z151100003915126).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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