Nuclear localisation of nuclear factor-kappaB transcription factors in prostate cancer: an immunohistochemical study

Br J Cancer. 2005 Oct 31;93(9):1019-23. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6602796.


Several reports suggest that the canonical nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) pathway is constitutively activated in a subset of prostate cancer cells. However, except for RelA (p65), little is known about the status of NF-kappaB transcription factors in prostate cancer tissues. To clarify the status of NF-kappaB subunits, we analysed the expression and subcellular localisation of RelA, RelB, c-Rel, p50, and p52 on tissue array sections containing respectively 344, 346, 369, 343, and 344 cores from 75 patients. The subcellular localisation of NF-kappaB factors was tested against relevant clinical parameters (preoperative prostate-specific antigen, pathological stage, and postoperative Gleason grade). With the exception of c-Rel, each subunit was detected in the nucleus of cancer cells: significant nuclear expression of RelB, RelA, p52, and p50 was seen in 26.6, 15.6, 10.7, and 10.5% of cores, respectively. Surprisingly, cores expressing both nuclear RelA and p50 canonical pathway proteins were less frequently observed than cores expressing other subunit combinations such as RelB-p52 and RelA-RelB. In addition, the nuclear localisation of RelB correlated with patient's Gleason scores (Spearman correlation: 0.167; P=0.018). The nuclear localisation of both canonical and noncanonical NF-kappaB subunits in prostate cancer cells suggests for the first time that different NF-kappaB pathways and dimers may be activated in the progression of the disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Dimerization
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • NF-kappa B p50 Subunit / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B p52 Subunit / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / metabolism
  • Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-rel
  • Subcellular Fractions
  • Tissue Array Analysis
  • Transcription Factor RelA / metabolism
  • Transcription Factor RelB / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • HIVEN86A protein, human
  • NF-kappa B
  • NF-kappa B p50 Subunit
  • NF-kappa B p52 Subunit
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-rel
  • RELA protein, human
  • RELB protein, human
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factor RelB
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen