Emerging roles of E2Fs in cancer: an exit from cell cycle control

Nat Rev Cancer. 2009 Nov;9(11):785-97. doi: 10.1038/nrc2696.


Mutations of the retinoblastoma tumour suppressor gene (RB1) or components regulating the RB pathway have been identified in almost every human malignancy. The E2F transcription factors function in cell cycle control and are intimately regulated by RB. Studies of model organisms have revealed conserved functions for E2Fs during development, suggesting that the cancer-related proliferative roles of E2F family members represent a recent evolutionary adaptation. However, given that some human tumours have concurrent RB1 inactivation and E2F amplification and overexpression, we propose that there are alternative tumour-promoting activities for the E2F family, which are independent of cell cycle regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle*
  • E2F Transcription Factors / genetics
  • E2F Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Multigene Family
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / genetics
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / metabolism


  • E2F Transcription Factors
  • Retinoblastoma Protein