Sirolimus reduces serum levels of vascular endothelial growth factor D (VEGF-D); the size of chylous effusions, lymphangioleiomyomas, and angiomyolipomas; and stabilizes lung function in patients with lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM).Methods
To determine whether reductions in VEGF-D levels are sustained over time, as well as parallel changes in lung function and lymphatic disease, we evaluated 25 patients with LAM and measured VEGF-D levels, lung function, and extent of lymphatic disease before and during sirolimus therapy.Results
Treatment with sirolimus stabilized FEV1 and diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide (Dlco) over a period of 4.5 ± 1.6 years, caused resolution of lymphatic disease, and reduced the size of angiomyolipomas and VEGF-D levels (3,720 ± 3,020 pg/mL to 945 ± 591 pg/mL; P < .0001). Yearly changes in FEV1 % predicted and Dlco % predicted were reduced from –7.4% ± 1.4% to –0.3% ± 0.5% (P < .001) and –6.4% ± 0.9% to –0.4% ± 0.5% (P < .001), respectively. Lower VEGF-D levels correlated with sirolimus therapy (P < .001), but no significant relationship was observed between reduction in VEGF-D levels and FEV1 and Dlco during sirolimus therapy. The magnitude of VEGF-D decline was not related to the effect on lung function. Patients with lymphatic disease had higher serum VEGF-D levels, a greater reduction in VEGF-D levels, and better long-term sustained improvement in lung function during sirolimus therapy than did those without lymphatic disease.Conclusions
Sirolimus therapy stabilizes lung function over many years of therapy while producing a sustained reduction in VEGF-D levels in patients with elevated levels preceding therapy. An association was not demonstrated between the magnitude of VEGF-D decline and the beneficial effect of sirolimus on lung function. Persistent improvement in lung function was observed in patients with lymphatic disease.