Is NF-kappaB a good target for cancer therapy? Hopes and pitfalls

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2009 Jan;8(1):33-40. doi: 10.1038/nrd2781.


Nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) transcription factors have a key role in many physiological processes such as innate and adaptive immune responses, cell proliferation, cell death, and inflammation. It has become clear that aberrant regulation of NF-kappaB and the signalling pathways that control its activity are involved in cancer development and progression, as well as in resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This article discusses recent evidence from cancer genetics and cancer genome studies that support the involvement of NF-kappaB in human cancer, particularly in multiple myeloma. The therapeutic potential and benefit of targeting NF-kappaB in cancer, and the possible complications and pitfalls of such an approach, are explored.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Humans
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • NF-kappa B