Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 38, Issue 9, pp 936–952 | Cite as

The pathogenesis and imaging of the tuberous sclerosis complex

  • Henry J. BaskinJr.


Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal-dominant disorder characterized by the formation of hamartomatous lesions in multiple organ systems. It is the second most common neurocutaneous syndrome after neurofibromatosis type 1 and has been recognized since the late 1800s. Although the disease has complete penetrance, there is also high phenotypic variability: some patients have obvious signs at birth, while others remain undiagnosed for many years. In addition to skin lesions, TSC patients develop numerous brain lesions, angiomyolipoma (AMLs), lymphangiomyomatosis (LAM) in the lungs, cardiac rhabdomyomas, skeletal lesions, and vascular anomalies, all of which are well seen with medical imaging. Our knowledge of TSC genetics and pathophysiology has expanded dramatically in recent years: two genetic loci were discovered in the 1990s and recent elucidation of TSC’s interaction with the mTOR pathway has changed how we manage the disease. Meanwhile, medical imaging is playing an increasingly important role in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of TSC. We provide an update on the genetics and pathophysiology of TSC, review its clinical manifestations, and explore the breadth of imaging features in each organ system, from prenatal detection of cardiac rhabdomyomas to monitoring rapamycin therapy to treatment of AMLs by interventional radiology.


Tuberous sclerosis Angiomyolipoma PEComa SEGA Children 


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© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyCincinnati Children’s Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA

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