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Br J Cancer. 2006 Feb 13;94(3):346-50.

COX inhibitors and breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Cancer Medicine, Division of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Room 1014 Garry Weston Centre, Hammersmith Campus, Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN, UK.

Abstract

There is considerable evidence to suggest that prostaglandins play an important role in the development and growth of cancer. The enzyme cyclo-oxygenase (COX) catalyses the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandins. In recent years, there has been interest in a possible role for COX inhibitors in the prevention and treatment of malignancy. Cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) is overexpressed in several epithelial tumours, including breast cancer. Preclinical evidence favours an antitumour role for COX inhibitors in breast cancer. However, the epidemiological evidence for an association is conflicting. Trials are being conducted to study the use of COX inhibitors alone and in combination with other agents in the chemoprevention of breast cancer, and in the neo-adjuvant, adjuvant, and metastatic treatment settings. In evaluating the potential use of these agents particularly in cancer chemoprophylaxis, the safety profile is as important as their efficacy. Concern over the cardiovascular safety of both selective and nonselective COX-inhibitors has recently been highlighted.

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