Sustained clinical effectiveness and favorable safety profile of topical sirolimus for tuberous sclerosis - associated facial angiofibroma

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2012 Oct;26(10):1315-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2011.04212.x. Epub 2011 Aug 11.


Background: Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominant neurocutaneous disorder characterized by the development of multisystem hamartomatous tumours. Facial angiofibroma appears in up to 80% of patients and has a considerable psychological impact. Various invasive procedures have been used, although they show limited effectiveness and potential adverse effects.

Objectives: To evaluate the sustained clinical benefits and safety profile of topical sirolimus applied to treat facial angiofibromas.

Methods: This study was a non-blinded, uncontrolled case-series comprising 10 patients with TSC-associated facial angiofibroma that was treated with 0.4% sirolimus ointment 3 times a week for 9 months. Patients were clinically evaluated at baseline and at 6, 12, 24 and 36 weeks. Plasma levels of sirolimus were determined.

Results: A sustained improvement was observed in erythema and in the size and extension of the lesions as early as the first weeks of treatment. Sirolimus plasma levels remained below detection limits (0.3 ng/mL) in all cases. The formula was well-tolerated with no local or systemic adverse effects.

Conclusions: Topical sirolimus seems to be an effective and safe medical alternative to surgery or laser-based treatments in patients with TSC-associated facial angiofibromas.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Angiofibroma / etiology*
  • Child
  • Face
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sirolimus / adverse effects
  • Sirolimus / therapeutic use*
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / complications
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Young Adult


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Sirolimus