Efficacy of a rapamycin analog (CCI-779) and IFN-gamma in tuberous sclerosis mouse models

Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2005 Mar;42(3):213-27. doi: 10.1002/gcc.20118.


Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a familial tumor disorder for which there is no effective medical therapy. Disease-causing mutations in the TSC1 or TSC2 gene lead to increased mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase activity in the conserved mTOR signaling pathway, which regulates nutrient uptake, cell growth, and protein translation. The normal function of TSC1 and TSC2 gene products is to form a complex that reduces mTOR kinase activity. Thus, mTOR kinase inhibition may be a useful targeted therapeutic approach. Elevated interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) expression is associated with decreased severity of kidney tumors in TSC patients and mouse models; therefore, IFN-gamma also has therapeutic potential. We studied cohorts of Tsc2+/- mice and a novel mouse model of Tsc2-null tumors in order to evaluate the efficacy of targeted therapy for TSC. We found that treatment with either an mTOR kinase inhibitor (CCI-779, a rapamycin analog) or with IFN-gamma reduced the severity of TSC-related disease without significant toxicity. These results constitute definitive preclinical data that justify proceeding with clinical trials using these agents in selected patients with TSC and related disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cystadenoma / metabolism
  • Cystadenoma / pathology
  • Cystadenoma / prevention & control
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Hemangioma / metabolism
  • Hemangioma / pathology
  • Hemangioma / prevention & control
  • Interferon-gamma / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Nude
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sirolimus / analogs & derivatives*
  • Sirolimus / therapeutic use*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / metabolism
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / pathology
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 2 Protein
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / physiology*


  • Repressor Proteins
  • Tsc2 protein, mouse
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 2 Protein
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • temsirolimus
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Protein Kinases
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • mTOR protein, mouse
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases
  • Sirolimus