Differentiating cystic lung diseases: A pictorial review

Brian Morrissey, Robin Spencer, Sylvie Dubois-Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Outline of submission:

There are multiple cyst-forming lung conditions as well as pulmonary abnormalities resembling cysts that are encountered by both thoracic and general radiologists on a regular basis. Many of these cystic lung diseases have similar, and sometimes overlapping, appearances and can be confusing to both specialist chest and general radiologists alike. Morphological features, cyst size and shape, distribution, smoking history, age and sex, as well as associated extrathoracic pathologies can help the radiologist to distinguish the most likely underlying pulmonary diagnosis. This can be very important in risk stratification for patients, such as identifying pneumothorax risk, screening for associated genetic causes and for accurate follow-up imaging for associated conditions such as renal tumours.

Educational objectives:

This pictorial review will highlight the common and characteristic imaging features of the more frequently encountered cystic lung diseases (lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), Birt-Hogg Dube syndrome (BHD), Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) and lymphocytic interstitial pneumonitis (LIP)), and will demonstrate the differences between them in order to more confidently and accurately identify the most likely underlying diagnosis.

High-resolution computed tomography findings demonstrating the morphology and distribution of cysts according to pathology are presented as well as any extrathoracic features commonly associated with these pathologies. Advice regarding risk stratification, genetic screening and follow up are provided in order to assist the general or thoracic radiologist to more confidently provide a report with thorough differential diagnosis and advice to referring clinicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e2
JournalClinical Radiology
Issue numberSupplement 2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2022


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