The RB and p53 pathways in cancer

Cancer Cell. 2002 Aug;2(2):103-12. doi: 10.1016/s1535-6108(02)00102-2.


The life history of cancer cells encompasses a series of genetic missteps in which normal cells are progressively transformed into tumor cells that invade surrounding tissues and become malignant. Most prominent among the regulators disrupted in cancer cells are two tumor suppressors, the retinoblastoma protein (RB) and the p53 transcription factor. Here, we discuss interconnecting signaling pathways controlled by RB and p53, attempting to explain their potentially universal involvement in the etiology of cancer. Pinpointing the various ways by which the functions of RB and p53 are subverted in individual tumors should provide a rational basis for developing more refined tumor-specific therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Cycle Proteins*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • E2F Transcription Factors
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • E2F Transcription Factors
  • Retinoblastoma Protein
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53