NF-κB and epithelial to mesenchymal transition of cancer

Authors

  • Chengyin Min,

    1. Department of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Women's Health Interdisciplinary Research Center, Boston Medical Center, 715 Albany Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02118-2394
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  • Sean F. Eddy,

    1. Department of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Women's Health Interdisciplinary Research Center, Boston Medical Center, 715 Albany Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02118-2394
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  • David H. Sherr,

    1. Women's Health Interdisciplinary Research Center, Boston Medical Center, 715 Albany Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02118-2394
    2. Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Gail E. Sonenshein

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Women's Health Interdisciplinary Research Center, Boston Medical Center, 715 Albany Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02118-2394
    • Department of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118-2394.
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  • Chengyin Min and Sean F. Eddy contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

During progression of an in situ to an invasive cancer, epithelial cells lose expression of proteins that promote cell–cell contact, and acquire mesenchymal markers, which promote cell migration and invasion. These events bear extensive similarities to the process of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), which has been recognized for several decades as critical feature of embryogenesis. The NF-κB family of transcription factors plays pivotal roles in both promoting and maintaining an invasive phenotype. After briefly describing the NF-κB family and its role in cancer, in this review we will first describe studies elucidating the functions of NF-κB in transcription of master regulator genes that repress an epithelial phenotype. In the second half, we discuss the roles of NF-κB in control of mesenchymal genes critical for promoting and maintaining an invasive phenotype. Overall, NF-κB is identified as a key target in prevention and in the treatment of invasive carcinomas. J. Cell. Biochem. 104: 733–744, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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