Downregulation of nuclear factor-kappaB p65 subunit by small interfering RNA synergizes with gemcitabine to inhibit the growth of pancreatic cancer

Cancer Lett. 2010 May 1;291(1):90-8. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2009.10.001. Epub 2009 Oct 31.


The clinical benefit of gemcitabine for pancreatic cancer is low due to chemoresistance. Nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB, constitutively activated in pancreatic cancer, is a therapeutic target as it upregulates expression of genes controlling proliferation, apoptosis and angiogenesis. This study aimed to investigate whether downregulation of the p65 subunit of NF-kappaB by siRNA could enhance the efficacy of gemcitabine to treat pancreatic cancer. p65 siRNA synergized with gemcitabine to inhibit the proliferation and induce the apoptosis of pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, and suppress the growth and angiogenesis of pancreatic tumors in nude mice. The mechanisms involved inhibition of NF-kappaB activity and consequent inhibition of Bcl-2, cyclin D1 and VEGF, and activation of caspase-3. The results suggest that downregulation of NF-kappaB p65 potentiates the efficacy of gemcitabine in combating pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxycytidine / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / prevention & control
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / analysis
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics*
  • Transcription Factor RelA / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Transcription Factor RelA / genetics
  • Transcription Factor RelA / metabolism


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Deoxycytidine
  • DNA
  • gemcitabine