Association of constitutive nuclear factor-kappaB activation with aggressive aspects and poor prognosis in cervical cancer

Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2009 Nov;19(8):1421-6. doi: 10.1111/IGC.0b013e3181b70445.


Introduction: Although nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) is generally believed to be involved in carcinogenesis, the relationship between NF-kappaB activation and progression of cervical cancer in clinical settings has not been reported. In this study, we investigated the association of NF-kappaB activation with aggressive aspects and prognosis in cervical cancer.

Methods: Nuclear factor-kappaB subunits p65 and p50 were detected in 159 paraffin tissues including normal cervical, precancerous (squamous intraepithelial lesions), and cervical carcinoma tissues by immunohistochemistry. Nuclear factor-kappaB nuclear translocation and DNA-binding activity in precancerous or carcinoma tissues were examined by Western blot and electrophoretic mobility shift assay, respectively.

Results: A gradual NF-kappaB activation from normal cervical epithelial cells to precancerous and carcinoma cells was detected by immunohistochemistry (nuclear expression of p65 and p50, P < 0.001), Western blot (NF-kappaB nuclear translocation), and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (enhanced DNA-binding activity). In 79 cancer tissues, increased nuclear p65, an active NF-kappaB form, was correlated with poor tumor grade, lymphatic metastasis, interstitial invasion, and larger tumor size (P < 0.05). Similarly, increased nuclear p50 was correlated with poor tumor grade, interstitial invasion, and larger tumor size (P < 0.05). Moreover, increased nuclear p65 was associated with lower survival rate in patients with cancer (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Constitutive NF-kappaB activation is correlated to tumor progression, aggressive behaviors, and poor prognosis in cervical cancer, suggesting that NF-kappaB is a tumor promoter, a prognostic indicator, and a possible therapeutic target for this malignant disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cervix Uteri / metabolism*
  • Cervix Uteri / pathology
  • Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Precancerous Conditions / genetics
  • Precancerous Conditions / metabolism*
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Rate
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / genetics
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / metabolism*
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / genetics
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology


  • NF-kappa B