Mammalian cells contain several chromatin-remodeling complexes associated with the Brm and Brg1 helicase-like proteins. These complexes likely represent the functional homologs of the SWI/SNF and RSC complexes found in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The mammalian chromatin-remodeling complexes are involved in both activation and repression of a variety of genes. Several lines of evidence also indicate that they play a specific role in the regulation of cell growth. Brm is down-regulated by ras signaling and its forced re-expression suppresses transformation by this oncogene. Besides, the Brg1 gene is silenced or mutated in several tumors cell lines and a Brg1-associated complex was recently found to co-purify with BRCA1, involved in breast and ovarian cancers. Finally, the gene encoding SNF5/Ini1, a subunit common to all mammalian SWI/SNF complexes, is inactivated in rhabdoid sarcomas, a very aggressive form of pediatric cancer. The current review will address observations made upon inactivation of Brm, Brg1 and SNF5/Ini1 by homologous recombination in the mouse, as well as the possible implication of these factors in the regulation of the Retinoblastoma pRb-mediated repression of the transcription factor E2F.