Purpose: SMARCB1/INI1, which negatively regulates cell cycle progression from G0/G1 into the S-phase via the p16INK4a-RB-E2F pathway, has been reported to be inactivated homozygously by deletion and/or mutations in malignant rhabdoid tumor (MRT). In the current study, we investigated the alteration of the SMARCB1/INI1 gene using simple methods, and its gene product at the protein level. Moreover, we investigated the status of hyperphosphorylation in RB protein, known as a key cell cycle molecule. Methods: Three cell lines and 11 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens of MRT were investigated. SMARCB1/INI1 gene alteration was analyzed with simple methods as a quantitative real-time PCR and direct sequencing method. Furthermore, SMARCB1/INI1 and RB protein were immunohistochemically evaluated. Results: In 12 of 14 cases, we detected genetic alterations comprised of nine (including three cell lines) homozygous deletions and three mutations, which can induce abnormal expression of gene products. At the protein level, SMARCB1/INI1 immunohistochemical expressions were not detected in any cases. Twelve out of 14 cases showed high-level (+5) expression of tRB (both hyperphosphorylated and underphosphorylated RB), combined with low-level (+1) expression of uRB (underphosphorylated RB), indicating a high rate of hyperphosphorylation. Conclusions: We could analyze the SMARCB1/INI1 gene alteration with simple methods, and SMARCB1/INI1 gene alteration was found in 12 of 14 cases. Especially, quantitative real-time PCR was a convenient and accurate method. In addition, a high rate of hyperphosphorylation of RB gene was recognized. These results suggest that the clinically aggressive character of MRT is caused by the inactivation of the SMARCB1/INI1 gene.
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