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Cancer Cell. 2010 Mar 16;17(3):286-97. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2009.12.048.

Hepatocyte IKKbeta/NF-kappaB inhibits tumor promotion and progression by preventing oxidative stress-driven STAT3 activation.

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Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Signal Transduction, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


The NF-kappaB activating kinase IKKbeta suppresses early chemically induced liver tumorigenesis by inhibiting hepatocyte death and compensatory proliferation. To study IKKbeta's role in late tumor promotion and progression, we developed a transplant system that allows initiated mouse hepatocytes to form hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) in host liver after a long latency. Deletion of IKKbeta long after initiation accelerated HCC development and enhanced proliferation of tumor initiating cells. These effects of IKKbeta/NF-kappaB were cell autonomous and correlated with increased accumulation of reactive oxygen species that led to JNK and STAT3 activation. Hepatocyte-specific STAT3 ablation prevented HCC development. The negative crosstalk between NF-kappaB and STAT3, which is also evident in human HCC, is a critical regulator of liver cancer development and progression.

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