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Chronic inflammation and cancer: potential chemoprevention through nuclear factor kappa B and p53 mutual antagonism

Srabani Pal1, Ashish Bhattacharjee2, Asif Ali4, Narayan C Mandal3, Subhash C Mandal1* and Mahadeb Pal4*

Author Affiliations

1 Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy laboratory, Division of Pharmacognosy, Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Jadavpur University, Kolkata 700032, India

2 Department of Biotechnology, National Institute of Technology, Durgapur-713209, India

3 Department of Botany, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan-731236, India

4 Division of Molecular Medicine, Bose Institute, Kolkata 700054, India

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Journal of Inflammation 2014, 11:23  doi:10.1186/1476-9255-11-23

Published: 9 August 2014


Activation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF- κB) as a mechanism of host defense against infection and stress is the central mediator of inflammatory responses. A normal (acute) inflammatory response is activated on urgent basis and is auto-regulated. Chronic inflammation that results due to failure in the regulatory mechanism, however, is largely considered as a critical determinant in the initiation and progression of various forms of cancer. Mechanistically, NF- κB favors this process by inducing various genes responsible for cell survival, proliferation, migration, invasion while at the same time antagonizing growth regulators including tumor suppressor p53. It has been shown by various independent investigations that a down regulation of NF- κB activity directly, or indirectly through the activation of the p53 pathway reduces tumor growth substantially. Therefore, there is a huge effort driven by many laboratories to understand the NF- κB signaling pathways to intervene the function of this crucial player in inflammation and tumorigenesis in order to find an effective inhibitor directly, or through the p53 tumor suppressor. We discuss here on the role of NF- κB in chronic inflammation and cancer, highlighting mutual antagonism between NF- κB and p53 pathways in the process. We also discuss prospective pharmacological modulators of these two pathways, including those that were already tested to affect this mutual antagonism.

Nuclear factor kappa B (NF- κB); Inflammation; Cancer; Phytochemicals; Chemoprevention; Small molecule inhibitors; Toll like receptor (TLR); Tumor necrosis factor (TNF); Lipopolysachharides (LPS); Tumor suppressor p53 (TP53); MDM2; Inhibitor of kB (I κB); Inhibitor of kappaB kinase (IKK)