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Cancer Res. 2002 Oct 15;62(20):5778-84.

Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition with celecoxib enhances antitumor efficacy and reduces diarrhea side effect of CPT-11.

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Oncology Pharmacology, Pharmacia Corp., Chesterfield, Missouri 63198, USA.


Combining anticancer drugs with different mechanisms of action has the potential to enhance antitumor effect. CPT-11 (Camptosar, irinotecan), a topoisomerase I inhibitor, has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of a variety of cancers. However, its clinical usage is often complicated by late diarrhea. A number of studies have shown that cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 is overexpressed in many forms of human tumors, suggesting that COX-2 inhibition may be useful in the treatment of cancer. In this study, we used two mouse tumor models (HT-29 and colon-26 cells) to evaluate the effect of combining CPT-11 with celecoxib on tumor growth. We also assessed the involvement of COX-2 in the pathogenesis of CPT-11-induced late diarrhea using a rat model. Results indicate that celecoxib enhances the antitumor effect of CPT-11 and reduces the severity of late diarrhea in a dose-dependent manner. The extended benefits of combining celecoxib with CPT-11 may significantly improve the outcome of cancer patients.

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