Tuberous sclerosis is a rare, hereditary disease in which patients develop multiple tumors. Although not cancerous, the tumors can affect various organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, and central nervous system, with serious medical consequences. The severity of disease varies greatly among patients, from barely detectable to fatal. This study will investigate what causes skin tumors to develop in patients with this disease.
Patients with tuberous sclerosis 18 years and older may enroll in this study. Participants will undergo a medical history and thorough skin examination by a dermatologist. Those with skin tumors will be asked to undergo biopsy (tissue removal) of up to eight lesions, under a local anesthetic, for research purposes. The biopsies will all be done the same day. The tissue samples will be used for: examination of genetic changes, measurement of certain proteins and other substances, and growing in culture to study the genetics of tuberous sclerosis.
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Patients with tuberous sclerosis develop benign cutaneous tumors that are typically multiple in number and location. These tumors include facial angiofibromas, forehead plaques, shagreen patches, periungual fibromas, and gingival fibromas. The tumors are permanent, slow growing, and often disfiguring. The purpose of this study is to elucidate the molecular basis for these tumors. Specifically, we plan to identify the genetically altered cells in these hamartomatous lesions, and to quantify factors (e.g. cytokines) produced by these cells which induce the growth of these tumors. To accomplish this, we plan to obtain samples of these cutaneous tumors, to test tumor DNA for loss of heterozygosity, and to measure RNA and protein expression levels.