The nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) signaling pathway is a multi-component pathway that regulates the expression of hundreds of genes that are involved in diverse and key cellular and organismal processes, including cell proliferation, cell survival, the cellular stress response, innate immunity and inflammation. Not surprisingly, mis-regulation of the NF-kappaB pathway, either by mutation or epigenetic mechanisms, is involved in many human and animal diseases, especially ones associated with chronic inflammation, immunodeficiency or cancer. This review describes human diseases in which mutations in the components of the core NF-kappaB signaling pathway have been implicated and discusses the molecular mechanisms by which these alterations in NF-kappaB signaling are likely to contribute to the disease pathology. These mutations can be germline or somatic and include gene amplification (e.g., REL), point mutations and deletions (REL, NFKB2, IKBA, CYLD, NEMO) and chromosomal translocations (BCL-3). In addition, human genetic diseases are briefly described wherein mutations affect protein modifiers or transducers of NF-kappaB signaling or disrupt NF-kappaB-binding sites in promoters/enhancers.