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Int J Cancer. 2003 Jan 1;103(1):84-90.

Expression of cyclooxygenase-2 and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma and levels of prostaglandin E2 and 15-deoxy-delta12,14-prostaglandin J2 in human breast cancer and metastasis.

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Division of Population Science, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA.


Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARgamma) inactivation are linked to increased risk of human breast cancer. The purpose of our study was to examine the relationship between COX-2 (with the resulting prostaglandins E(2), PGE(2)) and PPARgamma (and its natural endogenous ligand 15-Deoxy-Delta(12,14)-prostaglandin J(2), 15d-PGJ(2)) at various stages during the development of human breast cancer and its progression to metastasis. Human breast tissue specimens were collected from normal breasts or from individuals with fibrocystic disease and served as controls (n = 22). Tissues were also collected from uninvolved (n = 25), tumor (n = 25) and lymph node metastasis (n = 15) regions from breast cancer patients. COX-2 and PPARgamma mRNA expression were increased and downregulated, respectively, in tissues from cancer patients compared to controls. Metastatic tissues tended to have higher alterations compared to non-metastatic tissues (p < 0.05). These altered expressions in COX-2 and PPARgamma were paralleled by increases in the tissue levels of PGE(2) and decreases in 15d-PGJ(2). A significant inverse correlation was found between PGE(2) and 15-d-PGJ(2) (r = -0.51, p < 0.05). Significant correlations (p < 0.05) were also obtained between COX-2 and PPARgamma mRNA (inverse, r = -0.72) and between COX-2 and PGE(2) (direct, r = 0.68). Increases in COX-2 mRNA expression and levels of PGE(2) and down-regulation of PPARgamma mRNA expression and 15d-PGJ(2) levels were characterized as predictors of breast cancer risk (p < 0.05). Our results suggest that the altered expression of COX-2 and PPARgamma and the subsequent modulation in the tissue levels of PGE(2) and 15-d-PGJ(2) may influence the development of human breast cancer and its progression to metastasis.

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