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Giopanou, Ioanna; Lilis, Ioannis; Papaleonidopoulos, Vassilios; Marazioti, Antonia; Spella, Magda; Vreka, Malamati; Papadaki, Helen and Stathopoulos, Georgios T. (2015): Comprehensive Evaluation of Nuclear Factor-kappa B Expression Patterns in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.
In: PLOS ONE 10(7), e0132527 [PDF, 21MB]

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Nuclear factor (NF)-kappa B signalling is required for lung adenocarcinoma development in mice, and both of its subunits RelA and RelB were independently reported to be highly expressed in human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). To comprehensively examine NF-kappa B expression in NSCLC, we analyzed serial sections of primary tumor samples from 77 well-documented patients (36 adenocarcinomas, 40 squamous cell carcinomas and 3 large cell carcinomas) for immunoreactivity of RelA, RelB, P50, and P52/P100. Tumor and intratumoral stroma areas were discriminated based on proliferating cell nuclear antigen immunoreactivity and inflammatory infiltration was assessed in intratumoral stroma areas. NF-kappa B immunoreactivity was quantified by intensity, extent, and nuclear localization and was cross-examined with tumor cell proliferation, inflammatory infiltration, and clinical-pathologic data. We found that the expression of the different NF-kappa B subunits was not concordant, warranting our integral approach. Overall, RelA, RelB, and P50 were expressed at higher levels compared with P52/P100. However, RelA and P50 were predominantly expressed in intratumoral stroma, but RelB in tumor cells. Importantly, tumor area RelA expression was correlated with the intensity of inflammatory infiltration, whereas RelB expression was identified in proliferating tumor cells. Using multiple logistic regression, we identified that tumor RelB expression was an independent predictor of lymph node metastasis, and tumor P50 was an independent predictor of TNM6 stage IIB or higher, whereas tumor RelA was an independent predictor of inflammatory infiltration. We conclude that pathologic studies of NF-kappa B expression in cancer should include multiple pathway components. Utilizing such an approach, we identified intriguing associations between distinct NF-kappa B subunits and clinical and pathologic features of NSCLC.

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