relA over-expression reduces tumorigenicity and activates apoptosis in human cancer cells

A. Ricca, A. Biroccio, D. Trisciuoglio, M. Cippitelli, G. Zupi, D. Del Bufalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We previously demonstrated that bcl-2 over-expression increases the malignant behaviour of the MCF7 ADR human breast cancer cell line and enhances nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) transcriptional activity. Here, we investigated the direct effect of increased NF-κB activity on the tumorigenicity of MCF7 ADR cells by over-expressing the NF-κB subunit relA/p65. Surprisingly, our results demonstrated that over-expression of relA determines a considerable reduction of the tumorigenic ability in nude mice as indicated by the tumour take and the median time of tumour appearance. In vitro studies also evidenced a reduced cell proliferation and the activation of the apoptotic programme after relA over-expression. Apoptosis was associated with the production of reactive oxygen species, and the cleavage of the specific substrate Poly-ADP-ribose-polymerrase. Our data indicate that there is no general role for NF-κB in the regulation of apoptosis and tumorigenicity. In fact, even though inhibiting NF-κB activity has been reported to be lethal to tumour cells, our findings clearly suggest that an over-induction of nuclear NF-κB activity may produce the same effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1914-1921
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Apoptosis
  • Breast carcinoma
  • relA
  • Tumorigenicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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