A study of reduced penetrance retinoblastoma

Elizabeth Lynn Schubert, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Retinoblastoma is a pediatric tumor which is associated with somatic and inherited mutations at the retinoblastoma susceptibility locus, RB1. Although most cases of retinoblastoma fit the previously described 'two hit' model of oncogenesis, the molecular mechanisms underlying rare instances of familial retinoblastoma with reduced penetrance are not well understood. To better understand this phenomenon, a study was undertaken to uncover the molecular cause of low penetrance retinoblastoma in a limited number of families. In one case, a unique cryptic splicing alteration was discovered in the RB1 gene and demonstrated to reduce the level of normal RB1 mRNA produced. Penetrance in the large family known to carry this mutation is less than 50%. Data about the mutation supports a theory that reduced penetrance retinoblastoma is caused by partially functional mutations in RB1. In another family, three independent causes of retinoblastoma or the related phenotype of retinoma were indicated by linkage analysis, a finding unique in retinoblastoma research. A novel polymorphism restricted to Asian populations was also described during the course of this study.

Subject Area

Genetics|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Schubert, Elizabeth Lynn, "A study of reduced penetrance retinoblastoma" (1995). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9600561.