The loss of the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor gene (RB) is common in many human cancers, including prostate. We previously reported that engineered deletion of RB in prostate epithelial cells results in sustained cell growth in serum-free media, a predisposition to develop hyperplasia and dysplasia in prostate tissue recombinant grafts, and sensitization to hormonal carcinogenesis. Examining the molecular consequence of RB loss in this system, we show that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is significantly up-regulated following RB deletion in prostate tissue recombinants. To study the effect of RB deletion on COX-2 regulation, we generated wild-type (PrE) and Rb-/- (Rb-/-PrE) prostate epithelial cell lines rescued by tissue recombination. We show elevated COX-2 mRNA and protein expression in Rb-/-PrE cell lines with increased prostaglandin synthesis. We also find that loss of Rb leads to deregulated E2F activity, with increased expression of E2F target genes, and that exogenous expression of E2F1 results in elevated COX-2 mRNA and protein levels. COX-2 promoter studies reveal that E2F1 transcriptionally activates COX-2, which is dependent on the transactivation and DNA-binding domains of E2F1. Further analysis revealed that the E2F1 target gene, c-myb, is elevated in Rb-/-PrE cells and E2F1-overexpressing cells, whereas ectopic overexpression of c-myb activates the COX-2 promoter in prostate epithelial cells. Additionally, cotransfection with E2F1 and a dominant-negative c-myb inhibited E2F1 activation of the COX-2 promoter. Taken together, these results suggest activation of a transcriptional cascade by which E2F1 regulates COX-2 expression through the c-myb oncogene. This study reports a novel finding describing that deregulation of the Rb/E2F complex results in increased COX-2 expression and activity.