Targeting inflammatory pathways for prevention and therapy of cancer: short-term friend, long-term foe

Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Jan 15;15(2):425-30. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-0149.

Abstract

Chronic infections, obesity, alcohol, tobacco, radiation, environmental pollutants, and high-calorie diet have been recognized as major risk factors for the most common types of cancer. All these risk factors are linked to cancer through inflammation. Although acute inflammation that persists for short-term mediates host defense against infections, chronic inflammation that lasts for long term can predispose the host to various chronic illnesses, including cancer. Linkage between cancer and inflammation is indicated by numerous lines of evidence; first, transcription factors nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) and signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3), two major pathways for inflammation, are activated by most cancer risk factors; second, an inflammatory condition precedes most cancers; third, NF-kappaB and STAT3 are constitutively active in most cancers; fourth, hypoxia and acidic conditions found in solid tumors activate NF-kappaB; fifth, chemotherapeutic agents and gamma-irradiation activate NF-kappaB and lead to chemoresistance and radioresistance; sixth, most gene products linked to inflammation, survival, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis are regulated by NF-kappaB and STAT3; seventh, suppression of NF-kappaB and STAT3 inhibits the proliferation and invasion of tumors; and eighth, most chemopreventive agents mediate their effects through inhibition of NF-kappaB and STAT3 activation pathways. Thus, suppression of these proinflammatory pathways may provide opportunities for both prevention and treatment of cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia
  • Infections
  • Inflammation*
  • Models, Biological
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction

Substances

  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • NF-kappa B
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human