Mutations in both alleles of the RB1 gene are causal for the development of retinoblastoma, a childhood tumor of the eye. The spectrum of somatic and germline mutations in this gene is dominated by small mutations. Data on small mutations are listed in a locus specific database available at http://www.d-lohmann.de/Rb/mutations.html. Analysis of 368 reported small mutations reveals considerable heterogeneity. A notable recurrence of transitions is observed at 13 CpG-dinucleotides that are part of CGA codons or splice donor sites. Most mutations create a premature termination codon. With few exceptions, patients heterozygous for mutations of this kind develop bilateral retinoblastoma. Missense mutations and inframe deletions are rare. Some of these mutations are associated with a distinct phenotype marked by incomplete penetrance and reduced expressivity.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.