Pan-cancer molecular analysis of the RB tumor suppressor pathway

Erik S. Knudsen, Ram Nambiar, Spencer R. Rosario, Dominic J. Smiraglia, David W. Goodrich, Agnieszka K. Witkiewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The retinoblastoma tumor suppressor gene (RB1) plays a critical role in coordinating multiple pathways that impact cancer initiation, disease progression, and therapeutic responses. Here we probed molecular features associated with the RB-pathway across 31 tumor-types. While the RB-pathway has been purported to exhibit multiple mutually exclusive genetic events, only RB1 alteration is mutually exclusive with deregulation of CDK4/6 activity. An ER+ breast cancer model with targeted RB1 deletion was used to identify signatures of CDK4/6 activity and RB-dependency (CDK4/6-RB integrated signature). This signature was prognostic in tumor-types with gene expression features indicative of slower growth. Single copy loss on chromosome 13q encompassing the RB1 locus is prevalent in many cancers, yielding reduced expression of multiple genes in cis, and is inversely related to the CDK4/6-RB integrated signature supporting a cause-effect relationship. Genes that are positively and inversely correlated with the CDK4/6-RB integrated signature define new tumor-specific pathways associated with RB-pathway activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number158
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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