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Oncogene. 1991 Mar;6(3):445-8.

Retinoblastoma gene deletions in human glioblastomas.

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  • 1Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, London, UK.


The retinoblastoma susceptibility gene, RB, is the best characterised of the tumour suppressor genes, or 'anti-oncogenes'. Abnormal function of the RB protein is thought to result in loss of an inhibitory effect on cell growth, and thus contribute towards the development of certain human cancers. One group of human cancers of particular interest in relationship to retinoblastoma gene function are the gliomas, which are central nervous system tumours thought to originate from the neuroectoderm, the embryological tissue which also gives rise to retinoblastomas. We have therefore examined a group of benign and malignant gliomas for evidence of structural alterations of the RB gene. Four out of nine (44%) glioblastomas, the most malignant gliomas, showed loss of heterozygosity of a locus within this gene. In addition, one of these hemizygous tumours showed deletion of part of the RB protein-coding region, and this abnormality was also present in cells cultured from the tumour. These findings suggest that RB gene abnormalities may contribute to the development of glioblastomas.

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