Self-renewing breast cancer stem cells are key actors in perpetuating tumour existence and in treatment resistance and relapse. The molecular pathways required for their maintenance are starting to be elucidated. Among them is the transcription factor NF-κB, which is known to play critical roles in cell survival, inflammation and immunity. Recent studies indicate that mammary epithelial NF-κB regulates the self-renewal of breast cancer stem cells in a model of Her2-dependent tumourigenesis. We will describe here the NF-κB-activating pathways that are involved in this process and in which progenitor cells this transcription factor is actually activated.