NF-κB Blockers Gifted by Mother Nature: Prospectives in Cancer Cell Chemosensitization

Curr Pharm Des. 2016;22(27):4173-200. doi: 10.2174/1381612822666160609110231.


Background: Despite the significant developments made in the field of diagnosis and treatment modalities of cancer during the last two decades, it still remains one of the most life threatening diseases killing 8.2 million people annually across the globe. It has been well-established that development of chemoresistance in cancer cells is the major cause of failure of chemotherapeutic agents in clinic. Most of the chemotherapeutic agents currently being used activate NF-κB and NF-κB regulated gene products in cancer cells and induce drug resistance. Increasing lines of evidences suggest that NF-κB blockers have high potential in decreasing drug resistance and sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents.

Methods: A through literature search was carried out in pubmed to identify natural NF-κB inhibitors that possess high potential in sensitizing cancer cells.

Results: Our literature search retrived a number of NF-κB inhibitors that have been identified during the last several years. Notably, the inhibitors obtained from Mother Nature such as curcumin, tocotrienol, resveratrol, garcinol etc. are found to be highly safe, efficacious and inexpensive. Many preclinical and clinical studies have revealed that these agents can block the activation of NF-κB in cancer cells to overcome drug resistance and make them sensitive to chemotherapeutic agents.

Conclusion: Both basic and clinical research revealed that constitutive activation of NF-κB is the prime reason for inducing drug resistance in cancer cells. This comprehensive review scientifically evaluates the chemosensitizing potential of these natural agents which serve as potent NF-κB blockers, based on evidence based literature.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Biological Products / chemistry
  • Biological Products / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Biological Products
  • NF-kappa B