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FASEB J. 2001 Dec;15(14):2742-4. Epub 2001 Oct 15.

COX-2 independent induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in colon cancer cells by the selective COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib.

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pharmazentrum frankfurt, Klinikum der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


The regular use of various nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) was shown to decrease the incidence of colorectal cancer. This effect is thought to be caused predominantly by inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and, subsequently, prostaglandin synthesis. However, recent studies have suggested that COX-independent pathways may contribute considerably to these antiproliferative effects. To evaluate the involvement of COX-dependent and COX-independent mechanisms further, we assessed the effects of celecoxib (selective COX-2 inhibitor) and SC560 (selective COX-1 inhibitor) on cell survival, cell cycle distribution, and apoptosis in three colon cancer cell lines, which differ in their expression of COX-2. Both drugs induced a G0/G1 phase block and reduced cell survival independent of whether or not the cells expressed COX-2. Celecoxib was more potent than SC560. The G0/G1 block caused by celecoxib could be attributed to a decreased expression of cyclin A, cyclin B1, and cyclin-dependent kinase-1 and an increased expression of the cell cycle inhibitory proteins p21Waf1 and p27Kip1. In addition, celecoxib, but not SC560, induced apoptosis, which was also independent of the COX-2 expression of the cells. In vivo, celecoxib as well as SC560 reduced the proliferation of HCT-15 (COX-2 deficient) colon cancer xenografts in nude mice, but both substances had no significant effect on HT-29 tumors, which express COX-2 constitutively. Thus, our in vitro and in vivo data indicate that the antitumor effects of celecoxib probably are mediated through COX-2 independent mechanisms and are not restricted to COX-2 over-expressing tumors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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