NF-κB signaling in inflammation and cancer

Tao Zhang, Chao Ma, Zhiqiang Zhang, Huiyuan Zhang, Hongbo Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Since nuclear factor of κ-light chain of enhancer-activated B cells (NF-κB) was discovered in 1986, extraordinary efforts have been made to understand the function and regulating mechanism of NF-κB for 35 years, which lead to significant progress. Meanwhile, the molecular mechanisms regulating NF-κB activation have also been illuminated, the cascades of signaling events leading to NF-κB activity and key components of the NF-κB pathway are also identified. It has been suggested NF-κB plays an important role in human diseases, especially inflammation-related diseases. These studies make the NF-κB an attractive target for disease treatment. This review aims to summarize the knowledge of the family members of NF-κB, as well as the basic mechanisms of NF-κB signaling pathway activation. We will also review the effects of dysregulated NF-κB on inflammation, tumorigenesis, and tumor microenvironment. The progression of the translational study and drug development targeting NF-κB for inflammatory diseases and cancer treatment and the potential obstacles will be discussed. Further investigations on the precise functions of NF-κB in the physiological and pathological settings and underlying mechanisms are in the urgent need to develop drugs targeting NF-κB for inflammatory diseases and cancer treatment, with minimal side effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-653
Number of pages36
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • NF-κB
  • cancer
  • immunity
  • inflammation
  • signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Drug Discovery
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Cell Biology


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