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Semin Oncol. 2004 Apr;31(2 Suppl 7):22-9.

The role of COX-2 inhibition in breast cancer treatment and prevention.

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  • 1Department of Breast Medical Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Abstract

Several studies have suggested that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression is associated with parameters of aggressive breast cancer, including large tumor size, positive axillary lymph node metastases, and HER2-positive tumor status. Studies of mammary tumors in mice and rats have indicated that moderate to high COX-2 expression is related to the genesis of mammary tumors that are sensitive to treatment with nonspecific and specific COX-2 inhibitors. Moreover, these studies also suggest that mammary tumors are associated with high prostaglandin levels and induction of aromatase, a cytochrome P450 enzyme that catalyses estrogen production. Mechanistically, lack of apoptosis and increased angiogenesis and invasiveness have been implicated as mechanisms of tumor growth in COX-2-dependent mammary tumors. Based on these observations, clinical trials are evaluating adjunctive therapy with a selective COX-2 inhibitor, celecoxib, in combination with several regimens used in the metastatic and adjuvant or neoadjuvant settings of breast cancer. In addition, proof-of-principle trials are being conducted to ascertain the effects of celecoxib on known markers of proliferation, angiogenesis, and apoptosis. Finally, based on the apparent synergy between celecoxib and the aromatase inhibitor exemestane, the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group is launching a phase III trial comparing exemestane with or without celecoxib against placebo in postmenopausal women with elevated risk of breast cancer. Results of these trials will help to define the role of celecoxib in the management and prevention of breast cancer. Epidemiologic evidence suggests the incidence of breast, colon, and lung cancers is inversely related to the use of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which are nonspecific inhibitors of COX. COX-1 and COX-2 are enzymes that generate prostaglandins and thromboxanes from free arachidonic acid. Genetic approaches pursued in animal models and biochemical evidence obtained from human tumor cell lines have strongly implicated COX-2, an inducible enzyme, in many preinvasive and invasive human tumors. In this article we will first review data that point to COX-2 as an important indicator in the genesis of breast cancer and discuss planned and ongoing clinical trials evaluating specific COX-2 inhibitors in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer.

PMID:
15179621
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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