A Phase II Clinical Trial of an Aromatase Inhibitor for Postmenopausal Women with Lymphangioleiomyomatosis.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Ann Am Thorac Soc


Adult; Aged; Aromatase Inhibitors; Biomarkers; Female; Forced Expiratory Volume; Humans; Letrozole; Lung Diseases; Lymphangioleiomyomatosis; Middle Aged; Nitriles; Postmenopause; Pregnancy; Quality of Life; Sirolimus; Tomography, X-Ray Computed; Triazoles; United States; Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor D; Vital Capacity


RATIONALE: Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a progressive cystic lung disease that predominantly affects women and can worsen with pregnancy, estrogen treatment, and the menstrual cycle, suggesting an important role for estrogen in disease pathogenesis.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the efficacy and safety of the aromatase inhibitor letrozole in the treatment of LAM.

METHODS: Seventeen postmenopausal women with LAM were enrolled in this phase II trial and randomized to receive letrozole 2.5 mg daily (n = 9) or placebo (n = 8) for a period of 12 months. Five patients in each group were also taking sirolimus at baseline and remained on the drug throughout the treatment period. Lung function, exercise capacity, quality of life, and serum vascular endothelial growth factor D (VEGF-D) were measured at baseline and at 3-month intervals.

RESULTS: Fifteen patients completed the study. Two patients withdrew. There were no differences in adverse events in the letrozole and placebo groups. The target enrollment of 25 patients per arm was not met, so the efficacy of letrozole could not be assessed as planned. After adjusting for sirolimus use, we found that the rate of change in FEV

CONCLUSIONS: Letrozole treatment appears to be safe and well tolerated in postmenopausal patients with LAM, including those taking sirolimus. Enrollment in this trial was compromised by the publication of an effective treatment (sirolimus) in the same month as the study opened, resulting in limited power to detect treatment effects. Post hoc matched pairs exploration studies provide tentative support for additional studies of letrozole in LAM. Considering the reduced rate of lung function decline in postmenopausal patients, future studies will likely require enhanced study designs, such as selective enrollment of those with prognostic biomarkers predictive of decline. Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01353209).

Clinical Institute

Women & Children

Clinical Institute





Pulmonary Medicine