Generalized Lymphatic Anomaly (GLA) | Treatments

What are the treatment options for generalized lymphatic anomaly?

Your child’s specific treatment plan depends on several factors, including the part of the body affected, severity of the disease and related complications.

Treatment options may include:

  • medication/drug therapy
  • surgery
  • pleural or pericardial drainage
  • radiotherapy

Drug therapy for GLA

Many types of medications have proven effective for slowing the progression of generalized lymphatic anomaly (GLA) and relieving symptoms. These include:

  • immunosuppressants that target the lymphatic vessels that grow abnormally and disrupt the body’s normal bone regeneration process, including sirolimus (also known as rapamycin) or interferon alfa-2b
  • VEGFR-3 inhibitors that slow or halt production of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3 (VEGFR-3), a protein researchers believe is linked to the cause of GLA. These inhibitors include propranolol and bevacizumab

Surgery for GLA

Surgical resection (removal) is possible when the disease has not spread throughout lymphatic tissue. When possible, this approach can cure patients if all of the abnormal lymphatic tissue is removed.

In most cases, however, it is too difficult for surgeons to differentiate healthy tissue from the abnormal lymphatic tissue.

Treating GLA at Boston Children’s Hospital

The most effective treatment for GLA includes a comprehensive team approach that involves multiple specialists working together to develop customized treatment plans.

As part of the Boston Children’s Vascular Anomalies Center, our experts treating GLA include:

  • hematologists who use the most advanced medical therapies today to target the abnormal growth of lymphatic vessels
  • pulmonologists who specialize in lung conditions and complications
  • surgeons who may remove affected tissues, when possible
  • medical specialists from cardiologists to interventional radiologists who treat the full spectrum of complications related to gla
  • researchers studying the latest investigational therapies and possible genetic links of the disease
  • dedicated social worker to help coordinate services to treat the emotional needs of your child and arrange support services