Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma is a complex and heterogeneous tumor with poor prognosis due to frequent intrahepatic spread and extrahepatic metastasis. The molecular mechanisms underlying HCC pathogenesis still remain obscure.
Objectives: We aimed to investigate the abundance and the DNA binding activity of nuclear factor kappa B/p65 subunit in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with HCC and to assess its prognostic significance and association with hypoxia inducible factor one alpha (HIF-1α) in blood. Subjects and methods: This study was carried out on 40 patients classified equally into liver cirrhosis (group I) and HCC (group II), in addition to 20 healthy volunteers (group III). All groups were subjected to measurement of NF-κB/P65 subunit expression levels by real time-PCR, and DNA binding activity was evaluated by transcription factor binding immunoassay. Serum HIF-1α levels were estimated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Significant increase of both the expression level and DNA binding activity of NF-κB /P65 subunit together with serum HIF-1 alpha levels was noted in HCC patients compared to liver cirrhosis and control subjects, with significant positive correlation with parameters for bad prognosis of HCC. In conclusion, NF-κB signaling isactivated in HCC and associated with disease prognosis and with high circulating levels of HIF-1 alpha.