Retinoblastoma (Rb) is a malignant tumor that originates from developing retina. Diagnosis is based on clinical signs and symptoms and is usually made in children under the age of five years. Mutations in both alleles of the RB1 gene are a prerequisite for this tumor to develop. In most patients with sporadic unilateral Rb, both RB1 gene mutations occur in somatic cells and are not passed over to offspring (nonhereditary Rb). Almost all patients with sporadic bilateral and virtually all patients with familial Rb are heterozygous for RB1 gene mutations that cause predisposition to Rb (hereditary Rb). In families, Rb predisposition is transmitted as an autosomal dominant trait (familial Rb). In addition to Rb, patients with hereditary disease also have an increased risk of tumors outside the eye (second cancer). This risk is enhanced in patients who have received external beam radiotherapy. Analysis of genotype-phenotype associations has shown that the mean number of tumor foci that develop in carriers of mutant RB1 alleles is variable depending on which functions of the normal allele are retained and to what extent. Moreover, phenotypic expression of hereditary retinoblastoma is subject to genetic modification. Identification of the genetic factors that underlie these effects will not only help to arrive at a more precise prognosis but may also point to mechanisms that can be used to reduce the risk of tumor devel
KeywordsNatl Cancer Inst Incomplete Penetrance Premature Termination Codon Pocket Protein Bilateral Retinoblastoma
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