Article

Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 336, Issue 1, pp 25-37

First online:

NF-κB and cancer: how intimate is this relationship

  • Sahdeo PrasadAffiliated withCytokine Research Laboratory, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • , Jayaraj RavindranAffiliated withCytokine Research Laboratory, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • , Bharat B. AggarwalAffiliated withCytokine Research Laboratory, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Email author 

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Abstract

NF-κB, a transcription factor first discovered in 1986, is now known to be closely connected to the process of tumorogenesis based on a multiplicity of evidence. (1) NF-κB is activated in response to tobacco, stress, dietary agents, obesity, alcohol, infectious agents, irradiation, and environmental stimuli that account for as much as 95% of all cancers. (2) The transcription factor has been linked with transformation of cells. (3) It is constitutively active in most tumor cells. (4) It has also been linked with the survival of cancer stem cells, an early progenitor cell that has acquired self-renewal potential. (5) NF-κB regulates the expression of most anti-apoptotic gene products associated with the survival of the tumor. (6) It also regulates the gene products linked with proliferation of tumors. (7) The transcription factor controls the expression of gene products linked with invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis of cancer. (8) While most carcinogens activate NF-κB, most chemopreventive agents suppress its activation. These observations suggest that NF-κB is intimately intertwined with cancer growth and metastasis. The mechanism that leads to constitutive activation of NF-κB in hematological, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, gynecological, thoracic head and neck, breast, and skin cancers, and the ways NF-κB is activated are the topics of discussion in this review.

Keywords

NF-κB Cancer Constitutive expression