The retinoblastoma family members--pRb, pRb2/p130 and p107--are tumor suppressor genes involved in controlling four major cellular processes: growth arrest, apoptosis, differentiation and angiogenesis. Molecular genetic studies have identified abnormalities of these tumor suppressor genes in a large proportion of human cancers. These genetic alterations have emerged as significant factors in the pathogenesis and progression of many types of tumors and are therefore likely to provide relevant information to assess risk in cancer patients. There is a pressing clinical need to identify prognostic and predictive factors for patients with cancer, because there is an undeniable importance in being able to determine which patients will have a favorable outcome without further therapy (prognostic factor) and which will need some additional treatment (predictive factor). This review examines the predictive and/or prognostic role of each retinoblastoma family member in human cancer.