Published in Volume
100, Issue 12
(December 15, 1997)J Clin Invest.
1997, The American Society for
Aberrant nuclear factor-kappaB/Rel expression and the pathogenesis of breast cancer.
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA.
Published December 15, 1997
Expression of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB)/Rel transcription factors has recently been found to promote cell survival, inhibiting the induction of apoptosis. In most cells other than B lymphocytes, NF-kappaB/Rel is inactive, sequestered in the cytoplasm. For example, nuclear extracts from two human untransformed breast epithelial cell lines expressed only very low levels of NF-kappaB. Unexpectedly, nuclear extracts from two human breast tumor cell lines displayed significant levels of NF-kappaB/Rel. Direct inhibition of this NF-kappaB/ Rel activity in breast cancer cells induced apoptosis. High levels of NF-kappaB/Rel binding were also observed in carcinogen-induced primary rat mammary tumors, whereas only expectedly low levels were seen in normal rat mammary glands. Furthermore, multiple human breast cancer specimens contained significant levels of nuclear NF-kappaB/Rel subunits. Thus, aberrant nuclear expression of NF-kappaB/Rel is associated with breast cancer. Given the role of NF-kappaB/Rel factors in cell survival, this aberrant activity may play a role in tumor progression, and represents a possible therapeutic target in the treatment of these tumors.