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Photochem Photobiol. 2002 Jul;76(1):73-80.

Cyclooxygenase-2 expression in murine and human nonmelanoma skin cancers: implications for therapeutic approaches.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Abstract

Inflammatory stimuli result in the production of cutaneous eicosanoids, which are known to contribute to the process of tumor promotion. Cyclooxygenase (COX), the rate-limiting enzyme for the production of prostaglandins (PG) from arachidonic acid, exists in at least two isoforms, COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 is constitutively expressed in most tissues and plays various physiological roles, whereas increased COX-2 expression is known to occur in several types of epithelial neoplasms. Enhanced PG synthesis is a potential contributing factor in UVB-induced nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSC). Increased COX-2 staining occurs in murine skin neoplasms after chronic exposure to carcinogenic doses of UVB. In this study, immunohistochemical and Western blot analyses were employed to assess longitudinally COX-2 expression in a standard mouse UVB complete carcinogenesis protocol and in human basal cell carcinomas (BCC) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC). During UVB irradiation of mice, COX-2 expression consistently increased in the hyperplastic skin, the benign papillomas and the SCC. COX-2 expression was also increased in human actinic keratoses, SCC and BCC as well as in murine SCC and BCC. The pattern of COX-2 expression was quite variable, occurring in a patchy distribution in some lesions with staining confined mainly to suprabasal cell layers. In general, COX-2 expression progressively became more extensive in benign papillomas and well-differentiated murine SCC. The staining was predominantly cytoplasmic and perinuclear in some focal areas in tissue stroma around both murine and human tumors. Western blot analysis confirmed negative COX-2 expression in normal skin, whereas acute UVB exposure resulted in increased enzyme expression, which continued to increase in developing papillomas and SCC. Because of the evidence indicating a pathogenic role for eicosanoids in murine and human skin neoplasms, we performed studies to assess the anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic effects of green tea extracts, which are potent antioxidants. Acute exposure of the human skin to UVB (minimum erythema dose x 4) caused a transient enhancement of the COX-2 expression, which reverted to baseline within hours; however, in murine skin the expression persisted for several days. Pretreatment with the topically applied green tea extract (1 mg/cm2) largely abrogated the acute COX-2 response to UVB in mice or humans. In summary, enhanced COX-2 expression serves as a marker of epidermal UVB exposure for murine and human NMSC. These results suggest that COX-2 inhibitors could have potent anticarcinogenic effects in UVB-induced skin cancer.

PMID:
12126310
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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