The transcriptional factors, nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and activator protein 1 (AP-1), have been demonstrated to be activated during apoptosis induced by a wide variety of stimuli. However, their role in apoptosis, i.e. pro-apoptotic or anti-apoptotic, remains controversial. This review highlights (i) the mechanisms by which anti-cancer drugs activate these transcriptional factors, and (ii) the possible role of these transcriptional factors in apoptosis induced by anticancer drugs. The future possibility that these transcriptional factors can be used as new targets of cancer chemotherapy is also discussed.
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