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J BUON. 2013 Jul-Sep;18(3):579-84.

The importance of COX-2 expression as prognostic factor in early breast cancer.

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  • 1Akdeniz University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Oncology, Antalya, Turkey.



A number of studies have been carried out, showing that the risk for breast carcinoma is decreased in those using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Increased cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) level is considered as a factor indicating poor prognosis and responsible for angiogenesis, increased cellular proliferation, apoptotic defect and aromatase enzyme induction. For this reason the level of COX-2 might have a prognostic and predictive value in breast cancer as well. This question has become the basis of the present study.


Eighty-eight female patients with early stage breast cancer being under adjuvant anthracycline based chemotherapy were prospectively recruited. The patient age, body weight, menopausal status, tumor size and grade as well as axillary lymph node involvement were recorded. Routine pathological examination was performed, and COX-2, CerbB2 (HER2), estrogen (ER) and progesterone receptors (PR) levels in breast cancer tissue were determined immunohistochemically.


Multivariate analysis confirmed the independent predictive value of both menopausal status and ER expression for overall survival (OS) (p=0.009, HR=1.92, and p=0.014, HR=0.20, respectively). A negative correlation was observed between COX-2 levels and the levels of ER and PR (p=0.006, R= -0.303, and p=0.004, R=-0.312, respectively) whereas no significant correlation was observed concerning CerbB2. No statistically significant correlation was determined between COX-2 levels and the disease-free (DFS) and OS rates.


Further studies investigating the role of COX- 2 levels in breast cancer progression are needed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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