Background: Patients affected with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) are prone to the development of multiple benign tumors of the skin and other organs. Tuberin, the protein product of the tuberous-sclerosis-complex-2 tumor suppressor gene (TSC2) has been shown to inhibit cell proliferation. In TSC associated kidney tumors and sporadic brain tumors the loss/reduction of tuberin has been shown. Methods: Specimens of nine squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and five basal cell carcinomas (BCC) from patients without TSC and six biopsies of connective tissue nevi (CTN) of patients with TSC were obtained. Specimens were analyzed by immunoblotting for the expression of tuberin. Results: Absent or reduced levels of tuberin were detected in the dermal parts of three of six shagreen patches, two of five BCC, and four of nine SCC. Conclusions: In tumors/hamartomas of patients with TSC the complete loss of TSC2 and tuberin is a mechanism which could be shown for CTN, thereby excluding the possibility of haploinsufficiency of TSC2. In a substantial number of cutaneous BCC and SCC the loss or downregulation of tuberin seems to be epigenetic, as alterations of TSC2 are not known in these tumors. The absence or reduction of tuberin might contribute to their proliferation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine