Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



BMC Cancer






IkBαM; NF-kB; Ovarian cancer; Pro-apoptosis; Tumor suppressor


Background: NF-kB can function as an oncogene or tumor suppressor depending on cancer types. The role of NF-kB in low-grade serous ovarian cancer, however, has never been tested. We sought to elucidate the function of NF-kB in the low-grade serous ovarian cancer.

Methods: The ovarian cancer cell line, HOC-7, derived from a low-grade papillary serous carcinoma. Introduction of a dominant negative mutant, IkBαM, which resulted in decrease of NF-kB function in ovarian cancer cell lines. The transcription ability, tumorigenesis, cell proliferation and apoptosis were observed in derivative cell lines in comparison with parental cells.

Results: Western blot analysis indicated increased expression of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-xL and reduced expression of the pro-apoptotic proteins Bax, Bad, and Bid in HOC-7/IĸBαM cell. Further investigations validate this conclusion in KRAS wildtype cell line SKOV3. Interesting, NF-kB can exert its pro-apoptotic effect by activating mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphorylation in SKOV3 ovarian cancer cell, whereas opposite changes detected in p-MEK in HOC-7 ovarian cancer cell, the same as some chemoresistant ovarian cancer cell lines. In vivo animal assay performed on BALB/athymic mice showed that injection of HOC-7 induced subcutaneous tumor growth, which was completely regressed within 7 weeks. In comparison, HOC-7/IĸBαM cells caused sustained tumor growth and abrogated tumor regression, suggesting that knock-down of NF-kB by IĸBαM promoted sustained tumor growth and delayed tumor regression in HOC-7 cells.

Conclusion: Our results demonstrated that NF-kB may function as a tumor suppressor by facilitating regression of low grade ovarian serous carcinoma through activating pro-apoptotic pathways.


Reproduced with permission of BioMed Central Ltd. BMC Cancer

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Open Access