People with tuberous sclerosis can also develop tumors in their kidneys. One type of kidney tumor associated with tuberous sclerosis is renal angiomyolipoma. These tumors are made up of blood vessels, smooth muscle, and fat, and often develop in both kidneys. Sometimes the tumors are small enough that they don't cause any symptoms. Larger tumors are more likely to cause symptoms, especially abdominal (stomach) pain and back pain.
It is generally recommended that people with tuberous sclerosis be screened for the presence of angiomyolipoma. This is because abnormal blood vessels in the tumors can sometimes rupture, leading to life-threatening bleeding. Large tumors are more likely to rupture and bleed. Large tumors may also compress surrounding kidney tissue, and cause kidney failure.
Individuals with small tumors are often carefully monitored to make sure the tumor doesn't grow too large. Large tumors, or tumors that are causing symptoms, usually require some form of treatment.
Surgery to partially or completely remove an affected kidney may be necessary in some cases, such as when a tumor is extremely large or a kidney is not functioning. Afinitor is approved to treat renal angiomyolipoma in people who do not require immediate surgery. It may help reduce the size of the tumors, which can decrease symptoms and the risk for bleeding.
Using Afinitor for Breast Cancer
Afinitor is approved for treating breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (advanced or metastatic breast cancer) in postmenopausal women who have not responded to treatment with letrozole (Femara®) or anastrozole (Arimidex®). Specifically, it is approved to treat hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer and is meant to be used only in combination with exemestane (Aromasin®).
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