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Clin Cancer Res. 2004 Aug 15;10(16):5595-603.

In vitro and in vivo activity of the nuclear factor-kappaB inhibitor sulfasalazine in human glioblastomas.

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Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium.


Glioblastomas, the most common primary brain cancers, respond poorly to current treatment modalities and carry a dismal prognosis. In this study, we demonstrated that the transcription factor nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB is constitutively activated in glioblastoma surgical samples, primary cultures, and cell lines and promotes their growth and survival. Sulfasalazine, an anti-inflammatory drug that specifically inhibits the activation of NF-kappaB, blocked the cell cycle and induced apoptosis in several glioblastoma cell lines and primary cultures, as did gene therapy with a vector encoding a super-repressor of NF-kappaB. In vivo, sulfasalazine also significantly inhibited the growth of experimental human glioblastomas in nude mice brains. Given the documented safety of sulfasalazine in humans, these results may lead the way to a new class of glioma treatment.

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