CT Findings of Thoracic Manifestations of Primary Sjögren Syndrome: Radiologic-Pathologic Correlation

Authors: Ryoko Egashira, MD , Tetsuya Kondo, MD , Tetsuyoshi Hirai, MD , Noriyuki Kamochi, MD, PhD , Mai Yakushiji, MD , Fumio Yamasaki, MD, PhD , Hiroyuki Irie, MD, PhD


Primary Sjögren syndrome is an immune-mediated exocrinopathy characterized by lymphoplasmacytic infiltration of the salivary and lacrimal glands. Various systemic extraglandular disorders are associated with primary Sjögren syndrome, and the thorax is commonly affected. The pulmonary manifestations of primary Sjögren syndrome may be categorized as airway abnormalities, interstitial pneumonias, and lymphoproliferative disorders; in each category, bronchiectasis or centrilobular nodules, nonspecific interstitial pneumonia, and lymphoid interstitial pneumonia are common. These manifestations do not usually occur in isolation; they are concomitantly seen with other types of lesions. Mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma and amyloidosis are key components of lymphoproliferative disorders, and MALT lymphoma should always be considered because its morphologic characteristics are similar to those of benign lymphoproliferative disorders. Amyloidosis is rare but important because it carries a risk for underlying MALT lymphoma or plasmacytoma, and it may lead to hemoptysis during biopsy. In addition, thin-walled air cysts are characteristic of primary Sjögren syndrome, irrespective of the main pulmonary manifestations. Lymphadenopathy and multilocular thymic cysts may be seen in the mediastinum. During the follow-up period, there is a risk for acute exacerbation of interstitial pneumonia and development of malignant lymphoma. Often, primary Sjögren syndrome is subclinical, but there are various underlying risks. Thus, imaging findings are important. In addition to the various types of interstitial pneumonia and airway abnormalities, air cysts and mediastinal manifestations may help diagnose primary Sjögren syndrome.