Blocking Anti-Apoptosis as a Strategy for Cancer Chemotherapy: NF-kappaB as a Target

J Cell Biochem. 2004 Jul 1;92(4):646-50. doi: 10.1002/jcb.20080.


Critical processes underlying cancers must be better understood to develop strategies for treatment and prevention. A chemotherapeutic strategy is proposed that is based upon re-establishment, with a drug, of nullified programmed cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells, which to survive have mutated to block apoptosis. A chemotherapy that is specific against tumors implanted in mice demonstrated the feasibility of this principle. This therapy is specific because it affects a process unique to cancer cells. It also has the advantage of killing these cells, in contrast to reversibly blocking their proliferation. The anti-apoptotic transcription factor NF-kappaB provides a potential therapeutic target in estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancers that over-express the epidermal growth factor family of receptors (EGFR). Further investigations of the pathways utilize dominant negative protein inhibitory peptide, and small inhibitory RNAs (siRNAs) to block the production of relevant enzymes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis*
  • Humans
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / physiology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • NF-kappa B
  • RNA, Small Interfering