authors: Leech JD., Lammers SH., Goldman S., Auricchio N., Bronson RT., Kwiatkowski D., Sahin M. 

Mol Cancer Res. 2015 Mar;13(3):548-55. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-14-0178


Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal disease caused by inactivating mutations in either of the tumorsuppressor genes TSC1 or TSC2. TSC-associated tumor growth is present in multiple tissues and organs including brain, kidney, liver, heart, lungs, and skin. In the kidney, TSC angiomyolipomas have aberrant vascular structures with abnormal endothelial cells, suggesting a role for endothelial mTORC1 function. In the current report, a genetically engineered mousemodel (GEMM) with a conditional knockout allele of Tsc1 with a Darpp32-Cre allele displayed accelerated formation of both kidney cystadenomas and paw hemangiosarcomas. All mutant mice developed hemangiosarcomas on multiple paws by 6 weeks of age. By 16 weeks of age, the average mutant hind paw was 4.0 mm in diameter, nearly double the size of control mice. Furthermore, the hemangiosarcomas and kidney cystadenomas were responsive to intraperitoneal rapamycin treatment. Immunoblotting and immunostaining for phospho-S6 (pS6) and phospho-CAD showed that the effect of rapamycin on tumor size was through inhibition of the mTOR signaling pathway. Finally, elevated VEGF mRNA levels were also observed in hemangiosarcoma specimens. Because paw hemangiosarcomas are easily detectable and scorable for size and growth, this novel mouse model enables accelerated in vivo drug testing for therapies of TSC-related tumors.

Implications: These findings provide a strong rationale for simultaneous use of this conditional knockout mouse as an in vivo genetic model while seeking new cancer therapies for TSC-related tumors.