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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2011 Oct;12(14):2265-9. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2011.601742. Epub 2011 Aug 1.

Everolimus tablets for patients with subependymal giant cell astrocytoma.

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  • 1Duke University Medical Center, The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, Department of Surgery, Box 3624, Durham, NC 27710, USA.



Better understanding of aberrantly active molecular pathways in tumors offers potential to develop more specific and less toxic therapies. Abnormal mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex signaling and defects in TSC1 and TSC2 have been associated with the development of subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs) in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) patients. Recently, mTOR inhibitors such as everolimus have shown encouraging benefit for patients with SEGAs.


The authors discuss a molecular genetic pathway linked with TSC, specifically the role of two proteins whose functional absence is responsible for most SEGA tumors that arise in TSC patients. The authors also examine the rationale for targeted agents against this pathway therapeutically and describe the clinical evidence underlying the FDA approval of everolimus for patients with inoperable SEGAs.


Everolimus (Afinitor) selectively targets a molecular defect of SEGAs in TSC patients. Although surgery is effective, most SEGAs recur. An agent that inhibits an underlying molecular abnormality represents a particularly attractive therapeutic option for patients with inoperable or recurrent tumors. Studies are also underway to assess everolimus in treating other sequelae of TSC, and other gliomas. Finally, additional research aimed at better understanding aberrant cell signaling pathways may lead to the development of more effective therapeutics.

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