Preclincial testing of Sorafenib and RAD001 in the Nf flox/flox;DhhCre mouse model of plexiform neurofibroma using magnetic resonance imaging

Jianqiang Wu, Eva Dombi, Edwin Jousma, R. Scott Dunn, Diana Lindquist, Beverly M. Schnell, Mi Ok Kim, Aerang Kim, Brigitte C. Widemann, Timothy P. Cripe, Nancy Ratner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is an inherited disease predisposing affected patients to variable numbers of benign neurofibromas. To date there are no effective chemotherapeutic drugs available for this slow growing tumor. Molecularly targeted agents that aim to slow neurofibroma growth are being tested in clinical trials. So preclinical models for testing potential therapies are urgently needed to prioritize drugs for clinical trials of neurofibromas. Procedure: We used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to monitor neurofibroma development in the Nf1 flox/flox;DhhCre mouse model of GEM grade I neurofibroma. Based on studies implicating mTOR and Raf signaling in NF1 mutant cells, we tested the therapeutic effect of RAD001 and Sorafenib in this model. Mice were scanned to establish growth rate followed by 8 weeks of drug treatment, then re-imaged after the last dose of drug treatment. Tumor volumes were determined by volumetric measurement. Results: We found that rate of tumor growth varied among mice, as it does in human patients. RAD001 inhibited its predicted target pS6K, yet there was no significant decrease in the tumor volume in RAD001 treated mice compared to the vehicle control group. Sorafenib inhibited cyclinD1 expression and cell proliferation in tumors, and volumetric measurements identified significant decreases in tumor volume in some mice. Conclusion: The data demonstrate that volumetric MRI analysis can be used to monitor the therapeutic effect in the preclinical neurofibroma drug screening, and suggest that Sorafenib might have clinical activity in some neurofibromas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-180
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neurofibroma
  • Neurofibromatosis type 1
  • RAD001
  • Sorafenib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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