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J Immunol. 2000 Jan 1;164(1):361-70.

Specific inhibition of cyclooxygenase 2 restores antitumor reactivity by altering the balance of IL-10 and IL-12 synthesis.

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  • 1UCLA-Wadsworth Pulmonary Laboratory, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center 90073, USA.


Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), the enzyme at the rate-limiting step of prostanoid production, has been found to be overexpressed in human lung cancer. To evaluate lung tumor COX-2 modulation of antitumor immunity, we studied the antitumor effect of specific genetic or pharmacological inhibition of COX-2 in a murine Lewis lung carcinoma (3LL) model. Inhibition of COX-2 led to marked lymphocytic infiltration of the tumor and reduced tumor growth. Treatment of mice with anti-PGE2 mAb replicated the growth reduction seen in tumor-bearing mice treated with COX-2 inhibitors. COX-2 inhibition was accompanied by a significant decrement in IL-10 and a concomitant restoration of IL-12 production by APCs. Because the COX-2 metabolite PGE2 is a potent inducer of IL-10, it was hypothesized that COX-2 inhibition led to antitumor responses by down-regulating production of this potent immunosuppressive cytokine. In support of this concept, transfer of IL-10 transgenic T lymphocytes that overexpress IL-10 under control of the IL-2 promoter reversed the COX-2 inhibitor-induced antitumor response. We conclude that abrogation of COX-2 expression promotes antitumor reactivity by restoring the balance of IL-10 and IL-12 in vivo.

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