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DNA Cell Biol. 2005 Mar;24(3):141-7.

COX-2 inhibitor, NS398, enhances Fas-mediated apoptosis via modulation of the PTEN-Akt pathway in human gastric carcinoma cell lines.

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  • 1Division of Organ Pathology, Department of Microbiology and Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Tottori University, Yonago, Tottori, Japan.


A variety of human cancer cells are resistant to Fas ligand and anti-Fas antibody induced apoptosis. Previously, we reported that human gastric carcinoma cell lines were resistant to the anti-Fas antibody, CH-11, without interferon-gamma pretreatment in vitro. Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 is known to be expressed in many human malignancies, and is correlated with tumor progression and resistance to apoptosis. This study examined whether NS398, a COX-2 inhibitor, inhibited cell proliferation and increased Fas-mediated apoptosis in human gastric carcinoma cell lines. Treatment of NS398 inhibited cell proliferation in MKN-45, which expressed the highest level of COX-2 among seven human gastric carcinoma cell lines, in a dose- and time-dependent manner, in contrast to less prominent effects in KATO-III, which expresses no COX-2. Although the treatment of CH-11 induced apoptosis in both cells, the simultaneous treatment of NS398 and CH-11 remarkably induced apoptosis, as confirmed by Hoechst 33258 staining and the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase- mediated dUTP-digoxigenin nick-end labeling (TUNEL) method in MKN-45. Flow cytometric analysis also revealed the increased pre-G1 fraction by the simultaneous treatment. The treatment of NS398 induced upregulation of Bad and PTEN, and downregulation of phosphorylated Akt (Thr308). These findings suggest that COX-2 might inhibit Fas-mediated apoptosis in human gastric carcinoma cell lines, especially MKN-45, by modulating PTEN and Akt.

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