Topical 0.1% rapamycin for angiofibromas in paediatric patients with tuberous sclerosis: a pilot study of four patients

Australas J Dermatol. 2012 Feb;53(1):52-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-0960.2011.00837.x. Epub 2011 Dec 29.


Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominant genodermatosis characterised by the development of hamartomatous tumours in multiple organs including the brain, skin, kidneys, heart and lungs. Facial angiofibromas are the most visible and unsightly of the cutaneous manifestations of TSC, often resulting in stigmatisation for both the affected individuals and their families. Current treatments include vascular laser, ablative lasers and other destructive techniques such as shave excision and electrodessication. For the best outcome these treatments have to be repeated throughout childhood and teenage years, necessitating multiple general anaesthetics. We report a pilot study of topical rapamycin in four children with TSC and facial angiofibromas. Two patients were trialled on 0.1% rapamycin in petrolatum and the other two patients with 0.1% rapamycin solution (Rapamune) applied topically. Both preparations were rapidly and equally effective, however the 0.1% in petrolatum was much better tolerated. Younger patients with smaller angiofibromas had the best response with near complete clearance. Both preparations were more cost effective than pulsed dye laser under general anaesthesia. Although larger studies are needed, this treatment shows a potential to be a first-line management for facial angiofibromas in TSC and appears safe to start in early childhood.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Angiofibroma / complications
  • Angiofibroma / drug therapy*
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Facial Neoplasms / complications
  • Facial Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sirolimus / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / complications*


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Sirolimus