Cell Cycle and Beyond: Exploiting New RB1 Controlled Mechanisms for Cancer Therapy

Erik S. Knudsen, Steven C. Pruitt, Pamela A. Hershberger, Agnieszka K. Witkiewicz, David W. Goodrich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Recent studies highlight the importance of the RB1 tumor suppressor as a target for cancer therapy. Canonically, RB1 regulates cell cycle progression and represents the downstream target for cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 inhibitors that are in clinical use. However, newly discovered features of the RB1 pathway suggest new therapeutic strategies to counter resistance and improve precision medicine. These therapeutic strategies include deepening cell cycle exit with CDK4/6 inhibitor combinations, selectively targeting tumors that have lost RB1, and expanding therapeutic index by mitigating therapy-associated adverse effects. In addition, RB1 impacts immunological features of tumors and the microenvironment that can enhance sensitivity to immunotherapy. Lastly, RB1 specifies epigenetically determined cell lineage states that are disrupted during therapy resistance and could be re-installed through the direct use of epigenetic therapies. Thus, new opportunities are emerging to improve cancer therapy by exploiting the RB1 pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-324
Number of pages17
JournalTrends in Cancer
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • CDK4
  • E2F
  • EZH2
  • RB1
  • cyclin
  • epigenetics
  • immunotherapy
  • palbociclib
  • retinoblastoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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