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Oncogene. 2002 Oct 7;21(45):6908-14.

RB and cyclin dependent kinase pathways: defining a distinction between RB and p16 loss in lung cancer.

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Genetics Branch, Center for Cancer Research, NCI, NIH and National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland 20889, USA.


The genetic components of the RB:CDK:cyclin:p16 tumor suppressor pathway undergo mutational and epigenetic alterations in a wide range of human cancers and serve as critical targets for inactivation by the transforming oncoproteins of several DNA tumor viruses. Lung cancer has been a useful model system for these studies as it was the first tumor to demonstrate an important role for RB in the genesis of a common adult malignancy and was also the first human cancer to demonstrate genetic evidence for a multi-component RB:p16 tumor suppressor pathway. Lung tumorigenesis, however, is a complex disease process that requires longstanding carcinogen exposure in order to acquire somatic alterations at many distinct genetic loci. Understanding the multifunctional properties of RB to regulate cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis and how they relate to the sequential accumulation of other clonal gene defects will be essential in order to understand the specific patterns of gene inactivation observed in different subtypes of lung cancer and to fulfill the promise of 'molecular target' therapeutics.

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