Cancer, an ancient problem, may have an ancient solution: the role of Nuclear factor-kappa B

Cancer prevention may require avoidance of:

- tobacco
- alcohol
- high-fat diet
- polluted air and water
- sedentary lifestyle
- mechanical, physical, psychological, or chemical stress

How these factors listed above can cause cancer?

The mechanism is suggested by the transcription nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B), that is activated by:

- tobacco
- alcohol
- high-fat diet
- environment pollutants
- cancer-causing viruses (human papillomavirus, hepatitis B and C viruses, HIV) and bacteria (Helicobacter pylori)
- ultraviolet light
- ionizing radiation
- obesity
- stress

Suppression of NF-kappa B activation by the phytochemicals present in fruits and vegetables provides the molecular basis for their ability to prevent cancer.

Agents identified from spices and Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines also suppress NF-kappa B activation and thus may have potential for cancer prevention.

Such agents are curcumin, resveratrol, silymarin, catechins and others. Thus, cancer, an ancient problem, may have an ancient solution.


Nuclear factor-kappa B links carcinogenic and chemopreventive agents. Ralhan R, Pandey MK, Aggarwal BB. Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2009 Jun 1;1:45-60.

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