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Trends Cell Biol. 2004 Feb;14(2):64-9.

NF-kappaB: tumor promoter or suppressor?

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Division of Gene Regulation and Expression, School of Life Sciences, MSI/WTB Complex, Dow Street, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK DD1 5EH.


A role for the NF-kappaB family of transcription factors as tumor promoters is firmly established. However, other data suggest that NF-kappaB can also inhibit tumor growth. Moreover, NF-kappaB activity is modulated by tumor suppressors, such as p53 and ARF, whereby NF-kappaB subunits repress, rather than activate, the expression of tumor-promoting genes. This suggests a dual function of NF-kappaB during tumor progression - in the early stages, NF-kappaB inhibits tumor growth but, as further mutations lead to a loss of tumor suppressor expression, the oncogenic functions of NF-kappaB become unleashed, allowing it to actively contribute to tumorigenesis. Here, I discuss this hypothesis, its implications for NF-kappaB function, and how this might influence the use of NF-kappaB-based anticancer therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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