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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2001 Aug;36(8):865-9.

Enhanced cyclooxygenase-2 expression in sporadic and familial adenomatous polyposis of the human colon.

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Pharmacia Research and Development, Skokie, IL, USA.



The cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes exist in two related but unique isoforms (COX-1 and COX-2) and catalyze the formation of prostaglandins (PGs). COX-1 is constitutively expressed, and is responsible for the synthesis of PGs necessary for gastroprotection and normal renal function. The COX-2 isoform is important in a variety of pathophysiological conditions such as inflammation and tumorigenesis. Numerous studies report that regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can decrease the incidence of some tumor types, including gastrointestinal polyposis.


In this study, we evaluated COX-1 and COX-2 expression in 30 polyps collected from 10 patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and in 18 polyps collected from 18 patients with sporadic adenomatous polyposis (SAP) using COX-1 or COX-2 isoform-specific antibodies. All tissues were formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded. Immunoreactivity was detected using tyramide signal amplification and evaluated utilizing an immunohistochemical scoring system.


COX-2 was minimally detected in the distant non-neoplastic epithelium, which also served as an internal negative control. In comparison, all polyps collected from SAP or FAP patients overexpressed COX-2 in the neoplastic epithelial cells (P < or = 0.002). Additionally, pronounced COX-2 expression was observed in the stromal cells underlying and adjacent to adenomatous lesions. COX-1 immunoreactivity was weak to mild throughout each tissue evaluated and did not change in the neoplastic or stromal cells of the polyps.


COX-2 expression is upregulated in the adenomatous epithelium of SAP and FAP, while the COX-1 isoform appears to be constitutively expressed at low levels in both neoplastic and non-neoplastic regions. The differential expression of COX-1 and COX-2 in these neoplasms suggests that COX-2 rather than COX-1 may play a role in adenoma formation and/or growth in cases of SAP and FAP in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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