Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a genetic disorder that can affect multiple organ systems, including the brain, heart, skin, kidney, and lung, by formation of benign hamartomas. It can be associated with autism, epilepsy, and other neurocognitive and behavioral disabilities. The incidence of TSC is approximately 1 in 6,000 live births, but it may be underdiagnosed. Mutations to either the TSC1 (coding for hamartin) or TSC2 (coding for tuberin) genes are present in 85% of patients with TSC. The TSC1/TSC2 protein dimer complex is a crucial inhibitory element in the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 pathway that regulates cell growth and proliferation. The manifestations of TSC usually require management over the entire life of the patient. Until recently, there were few options, other than surgical removal, for treating the symptoms of TSC related to growth of hamartomas. Increased understanding of the genetic cause of the disease and the underlying dysregulation of the mTOR pathway has led to clinical trials of mTOR inhibitors including sirolimus and everolimus. This article will review the various manifestations of TSC and describe treatment strategies, recommendations for surveillance, and use of mTOR inhibitors in their management.
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