Priority Research Papers:

IKK/NF-κB signaling contributes to glioblastoma stem cell maintenance

Amanda L. Rinkenbaugh, Patricia C. Cogswell, Barbara Calamini, Denise E. Dunn, Anders I. Persson, William A. Weiss, Donald C. Lo and Albert S. Baldwin _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:69173-69187. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12507

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Amanda L. Rinkenbaugh1,2, Patricia C. Cogswell2,3, Barbara Calamini4, Denise E. Dunn4, Anders I. Persson5,6, William A. Weiss5,6, Donald C. Lo4 and Albert S. Baldwin2

1 Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

2 Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

3 Chordoma Foundation, Durham, NC, USA

4 Center for Drug Discovery and Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA

5 Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA

6 Department of Neurological Surgery and Brain Tumor Research Center, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA

Correspondence to:

Albert Baldwin, email:

Keywords: NF-κB, glioblastoma, cancer stem cells, tumor-initiating cells

Received: March 14, 2016 Accepted: September 24, 2016 Published: October 06, 2016


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) carries a poor prognosis and continues to lack effective treatments. Glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) drive tumor formation, invasion, and drug resistance and, as such, are the focus of studies to identify new therapies for disease control. Here, we identify the involvement of IKK and NF-κB signaling in the maintenance of GSCs. Inhibition of this pathway impairs self-renewal as analyzed in tumorsphere formation and GBM expansion as analyzed in brain slice culture. Interestingly, both the canonical and non-canonical branches of the NF-κB pathway are shown to contribute to this phenotype. One source of NF-κB activation in GBM involves the TGF-β/TAK1 signaling axis. Together, our results demonstrate a role for the NF-κB pathway in GSCs and provide a mechanistic basis for its potential as a therapeutic target in glioblastoma.

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