Rb2/p130 is a member of the retinoblastoma family of proteins, consisting of Rb, Rb2 and p107, which are important negative regulators of cell cycle progression and differentiation. While Rb2 downregulation was observed in several malignant tumours including endometrial cancer, the role of p130 in breast carcinomas is still unknown. We investigated Rb2 protein expression in tumour tissue from 68 mammary and 41 endometrial carcinomas, 4 mammary cell lines, and normal tissue samples. Therefore, we performed Western blot experiments for Rb2, Rb, and the oestrogen and progesterone receptors (ER, PR-A, PR-B). Weak or absent Rb2 expression was more often found in endometrial (59%) than in mammary carcinomas (24%). We found significant positive correlations of Rb2 expression with Rb, ER, and PR-B in breast cancer samples, and of Rb2 with Rb, PR-A, PR-B, and younger age in endometrial carcinomas. No significant associations with histological grading, stage, nodal involvement, or Ki67 staining were detected. Rb2 mRNA expression was studied by semi-quantitative RT-PCR in 56 endometrial or mammary tissue samples and correlated significantly with Western blot results. Our results indicate that loss of Rb2 expression, mostly by transcriptional down-regulation, may be associated with the development and dedifferentiation of most endometrial and a subset of mammary carcinomas.
Copyright 2001 Cancer Research Campaign.