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Anticancer Res. 2002 Jul-Aug;22(4):2089-96.

Increased cyclooxygenase-2 expression in human squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck and inhibition of proliferation by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, College of Medicine and Medical Research Institute, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Korea.



Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) has been found to be up-regulated in several types of human cancers and its role in the carcinogenic process has been proposed The aim of this study was to examine the expression of COX-2 in human squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) and to find out the effects of COX-2 inhibitors on the growth of cultured cells.


We investigated the effect of indomethacin and NS-398 at various concentrations on the growth of SCCHN cell lines using cell proliferation assay, cell cycle analysis and quantification of apoptosis.


Immunostaining revealed a significantly increased COX-2 expression in tumor tissues compared with normal controls (p<0.05). Western blotting analysis using a COX-2 antibody, indicated that seven SCCHN cell lines tested constitutively expressed COX-2 protein. Treatment of head and neck cancer cells with NS-398 (10-200 microM) or indomethacin (50-1000 microM) for 72 hours showed a significant dose-dependent inhibition of cell growth (p<0.01) and a significant increase in the number of cells in the G0/G1-phases of the cell cycle with a concomitant reduction at the S-phase in a dose-dependent manner (p<0.05). NS-398 was more effective in cell cycle arrest and growth inhibition than indomethacin (p<0.05) and induced significant apoptosis in two out of three SCCHN cell lines tested at the concentration of 100 microM.


Our study showed that COX-2 could be a participant in carcinogenesis of SCCHN and that COX-2 inhibitors would be a potential tool for the treatment and prevention of SCCHN.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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