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Semin Cancer Biol. 2003 Apr;13(2):107-14.

NF-kappaB in cancer: a marked target.

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  • 1Ben May Institute for Cancer Research, The University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 60627, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


The imbalance between proliferation and programmed cell death (apoptosis) is one of the critical cellular events that lead to oncogenesis. While there is no doubt that uncontrolled cell proliferation is essential for the development of cancer, deregulation of apoptosis may play an equally important role in this process. Inhibition of apoptosis prevents the death of tumor cells with DNA damage either associated with carcinogenic initiation or cancer therapy. The transcription factor NF-kappaB is a key regulator in oncogenesis. By promoting proliferation and inhibiting apoptosis, NF-kappaB tips the balance between proliferation and apoptosis toward malignant growth in tumor cells.

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