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Biomedicines 2018, 6(2), 44;

Subunit-Specific Role of NF-κB in Cancer

AG Molecular Neurobiology, University of Bielefeld, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
Department of Cell Biology, University of Bielefeld, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 11 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Roles of NF-κB in Cancer and Their Therapeutic Approaches)
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The transcription factor NF-κB is a key player in inflammation, cancer development, and progression. NF-κB stimulates cell proliferation, prevents apoptosis, and could promote tumor angiogenesis as well as metastasis. Extending the commonly accepted role of NF-κB in cancer formation and progression, different NF-κB subunits have been shown to be active and of particular importance in distinct types of cancer. Here, we summarize overexpression data of the NF-κB subunits RELA, RELB, and c-REL (referring to the v-REL, which is the oncogene of Reticuloendotheliosis virus strain T) as well as of their upstream kinase inhibitor, namely inhibitor of κB kinases (IKK), in different human cancers, assessed by database mining. These data argue against a universal mechanism of cancer-mediated activation of NF-κB, and suggest a much more elaborated mode of NF-κB regulation, indicating a tumor type-specific upregulation of the NF-κB subunits. We further discuss recent findings showing the diverse roles of NF-κB signaling in cancer development and metastasis in a subunit-specific manner, emphasizing their specific transcriptional activity and the role of autoregulation. While non-canonical NF-κB RELB signaling is described to be mostly present in hematological cancers, solid cancers reveal constitutive canonical NF-κB RELA or c-REL activity. Providing a linkage to cancer therapy, we discuss the recently described pivotal role of NF-κB c-REL in regulating cancer-targeting immune responses. In addition, current strategies and ongoing clinical trials are summarized, which utilize genome editing or drugs to inhibit the NF-κB subunits for cancer treatment. View Full-Text
Keywords: NF-κB; RELA; cREL; RELB; tumor; cancer; transformation; inflammation; gene expression; tumor necrosis factor; Treg NF-κB; RELA; cREL; RELB; tumor; cancer; transformation; inflammation; gene expression; tumor necrosis factor; Treg

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Kaltschmidt, B.; Greiner, J.F.W.; Kadhim, H.M.; Kaltschmidt, C. Subunit-Specific Role of NF-κB in Cancer. Biomedicines 2018, 6, 44.

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