Mutational inactivation of the retinoblastoma susceptibility (RB) gene has been proposed as a crucial step in the formation of retinoblastoma and other types of human cancer. This hypothesis was tested by introducing, via retroviral-mediated gene transfer, a cloned RB gene into retinoblastoma or osteosarcoma cells that had inactivated endogenous RB genes. Expression of the exogenous RB gene affected cell morphology, growth rate, soft agar colony formation, and tumorigenicity in nude mice. This demonstration of suppression of the neoplastic phenotype by a single gene provides direct evidence for an essential role of the RB gene in tumorigenesis.

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