• S.A. Salvia (Central Military Hospital, Buenos Aires)
  • M.A. Amore (Central Military Hospital, Buenos Aires)
  • C.M. Papendieck (Angiopediatria Foundation)


Microcystic lymphatic malformations as described in the international literature form a subgroup of low-flow congenital vascular malformations (VM) resulting from irregular embryological development. Microcystic lesions normally manifest as an accumulation of lymph- and blood-filled vesicles that, when externalized, cause skin maceration with consequent pain and potential infection resulting in the impairment of the patient's quality of life. There is no consensus on a standardized algorithm nor clear guidelines for successful treatment of this type of lymphatic malformation, and treatment options employed often result in ambivalent and transient outcomes with a high rate of recurrence. The topical formulation of tacrolimus is a well-known FDA-approved anti-T cell agent that was recently identified as a potent activator of ALK1, which is involved in several processes and functions including angiogenesis. We investigated if topical administration of tacrolimus may be an effective therapy for directly targeting cutaneous microcystic lymphatic malformations as a complement to systemic treatment. The study enrolled four patients with cutaneous microcystic lymphatic malformations: three male (ages: 13, 15, 18) and one female (age: 30). Two of the patients presented lesions on their backs, one patient on the left hand and one on the left lower limb. All four patients received treatment with topical tacrolimus 0.1% twice a day for 10 weeks on a previously selected area for application. Weekly clinical follow-ups were conducted along with close physician-patient contact. All patients displayed a satisfactory response after treatment. Lymphorrhea and bleeding were stopped in all cases and the esthetic aspect of lesions improved in two patients. To date, all patients presented no clinically significant changes to the size or extension of the lesion. Topical tacrolimus treatment is a promising and reasonable option for microcystic lymphatic malformations. Our results encourage further exploration in larger populations with the consideration that it is a safe and effective alternative or complementary therapy to systemic treatment.

Keywords: topical tacrolimus, lymphatic malformations, microcystic, vascular malformations

How to Cite:

Salvia, S. & Amore, M. & Papendieck, C., (2021) “TOPICAL TACROLIMUS 0.1% FOR TREATMENT OF CUTANEOUS MICROCYSTIC LYMPHATIC MALFORMATIONS”, Lymphology 54(2), 106-111. doi:

Download PDF



Published on
18 Nov 2021
Peer Reviewed