Medicinal Plants in Cancer Treatment: Contribution of Nuclear Factor- Kappa B (NF-kB) Inhibitors

Mini Rev Med Chem. 2022;22(15):1938-1962. doi: 10.2174/1389557522666220307170126.


Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) is one of the principal inducible proteins and a predominant transcription factor that is known to control gene expression in mammals. It plays a pivotal role in regulating cell signalling in the body under certain physiological and pathological conditions. In cancer cells, such as colon, breast, pancreatic, ovarian, melanoma, and lymphoma, the NF-κB pathway is active. In cellular proliferation, promoting angiogenesis, invasion, metastasis of tumour cells, and blocking apoptosis, the constitutive activity of NF-κB signalling has been reported. Therefore, immense attention has been given to developing drugs targeting NF-κB signalling pathways to treat many types of tumours. They are a desirable therapeutic target for drugs, and many studies have concentrated on recognizing compounds. They may be able to reverse or standstill the growth and spread of tumours that selectively interfere with this pathway. Recently, numerous substances derived from plants have been evaluated as possible inhibitors of the NF-κB pathway. These include various compounds, such as flavonoids, lignans, diterpenes, sesquiterpenes, polyphenols, etc. A study supported by folk medicine demonstrated that plant-derived compounds could suppress NF-κB signalling. Considering this, the present review revealed the anticancer potential of naturally occurring compounds that inhibit the NF-κB signalling and suppress the growth and spread of cancer.

Keywords: NF-κB inhibitors; NF-κB signalling; NF-κB signalling pathways; Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB); cancer; natural products.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • NF-kappa B* / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Signal Transduction


  • NF-kappa B