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.
- Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
- Nuclear factor-κB
- Signal transduction
ASJC Scopus subject areas