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Keywords:

  • nuclear factor-κB;
  • signal transduction;
  • head and neck squamous cell carcinoma;
  • bortezomib;
  • EGFR

Abstract

Background:

Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), a transcription factor known to modulate expression of factors involved in inflammation, immunity, proliferation, and apoptosis, is constitutively activated and plays a role in pathogenesis and therapeutic resistance in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Understanding the molecular alterations leading to aberrant NF-κB activation in HNSCC may direct investigators to novel therapeutic targets.

Methods:

Results of laboratory and clinical studies are reviewed.

Results:

The structure, function, and activation of NF-κB, products of NF-κB target genes and their role in HNSCC oncogenesis, and current NF-κB modulating interventions are described.

Conclusions:

Aberrant NF-κB activation contributes to the expression of oncogenes and the malignant phenotype observed in HNSCC. NF-κB, along with providing a link between cancer and inflammation, may serve as an appropriate therapeutic target to inhibit tumor growth and sensitize cancer cells to established cytotoxic anticancer therapies. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2007