The Retinoblastoma Gene in Breast Cancer: Allele Loss Is Not Correlated with Loss of Gene Protein Expression

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The significance of the retinoblastoma gene (RB) in the development of human breast cancer remains unclear. In the present study, loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in RB was found in 26% of 90 informative primary breast tumors and was correlated to DNA nondiploidy, a high S-phase fraction, and LOH at chromosome 17pl33. However, allele loss was not associated with loss of RB protein (pRB) expression. Low to absent levels of pRB were found in 15% of 73 immunoblot analyzed tumors, most of which manifested retained heterozygosity in RB. Conversely, tumors exhibiting LOH showed often high pRB expression. Our data suggest that RB may be Involved in the pathogenesis of some breast tumors, as evidenced by the absence of pRB, but that this alteration is acquired by mechanisms other than the unmasking of a recessive mutation by allele loss. LOH in RB may be merely a stochastic event in the unstable genome of aneuploid, rapidly proliferating cells or, alternatively, reflect the presence of an adjacent tumor suppressor gene.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2991-2994
JournalCancer Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1992 May 15
Publication categoryResearch