Two proteins, p107 and pRb2/p130, which are structurally and functionally similar to the product of the retinoblastoma gene (pRb), were cloned by taking advantage of their ability to bind transforming proteins of DNA tumor viruses through a particular region called the "pocket domain." Like pRb, both proteins play a fundamental role in growth control. Using immunocytochemical techniques, we examined a variety of normal human tissues for the expression of pRb2/p130 and p107. Both proteins were expressed ubiquitously, although a different tissue distribution and/or level of expression were found in various organs. Terminally differentiated cells, such as neurons and skeletal muscle, showed high expression levels for Rb2/p130, whereas p107 was expressed at higher levels in other cell types such as epithelia of the breast and prostate. We then examined the expression pattern of Rb2/p130 in 158 specimens of human lung cancer and found an inverse correlation between the histological grading of the tumors, the development of metastasis, and the level of expression of Rb2/p130.