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The complexity of NF-κB signaling in inflammation and cancer

Bastian Hoesel and Johannes A Schmid*

Author Affiliations

Department of Vascular Biology and Thrombosis Research, Center for Physiology and Pharmacology, Medical University Vienna, Schwarzspanierstraße 17, 1090 Vienna, Austria

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Molecular Cancer 2013, 12:86  doi:10.1186/1476-4598-12-86

Published: 2 August 2013


The NF-κB family of transcription factors has an essential role in inflammation and innate immunity. Furthermore, NF-κB is increasingly recognized as a crucial player in many steps of cancer initiation and progression. During these latter processes NF-κB cooperates with multiple other signaling molecules and pathways. Prominent nodes of crosstalk are mediated by other transcription factors such as STAT3 and p53 or the ETS related gene ERG. These transcription factors either directly interact with NF-κB subunits or affect NF-κB target genes. Crosstalk can also occur through different kinases, such as GSK3-β, p38, or PI3K, which modulate NF-κB transcriptional activity or affect upstream signaling pathways. Other classes of molecules that act as nodes of crosstalk are reactive oxygen species and miRNAs. In this review, we provide an overview of the most relevant modes of crosstalk and cooperativity between NF-κB and other signaling molecules during inflammation and cancer.

NF-kappa B signaling; Cancer; Inflammation; Cooperativity; Crosstalk