Inactivation of the RB tumor suppressor and activation of the MYC family of oncogenes are frequent events in a large spectrum of human cancers. Loss of RB function and MYC activation are thought to control both overlapping and distinct cellular processes during cell cycle progression. However, how these two major cancer genes functionally interact during tumorigenesis is still unclear. Here, we sought to test whether loss of RB function would affect cancer development in a mouse model of c-MYC-induced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a deadly cancer type in which RB is frequently inactivated and c-MYC often activated. We found that RB inactivation has minimal effects on the cell cycle, cell death, and differentiation features of liver tumors driven by increased levels of c-MYC. However, combined loss of RB and activation of c-MYC led to an increase in polyploidy in mature hepatocytes before the development of tumors. There was a trend for decreased survival in double mutant animals compared to mice developing c-MYC-induced tumors. Thus, loss of RB function does not provide a proliferative advantage to c-MYC-expressing HCC cells but the RB and c-MYC pathways may cooperate to control the polyploidy of mature hepatocytes.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0019758
View details for Web of Science ID 000290305600045
View details for PubMedID 21573126