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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2002 Dec 13;299(4):517-24.

Correlation between nitric oxide and cyclooxygenase-2 pathways in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas.

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Department of Oto-Neuro-Ophthalmologic Surgery, University of Florence Medical School, 50134 Florence, Italy.


We investigated the interactions between inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) pathways in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) and in two carcinoma cell lines. HNSCCs showed an up-regulation of both pathways which were strongly correlated with each other (p=0.02) and with tumor vascularization (p=0.0001 and p=0.008, respectively). In carcinoma cells, Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and EGF treatment up-regulated both pathways. NOS inhibitor N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) inhibited this up-regulation. LPS or EGF induced iNOS expression that was not altered by NOS or COX-2 inhibitors. Conversely, LPS or EGF promoted COX-2 expression that was decreased by L-NAME. The NO donor S-nitroso-acetyl-penicillamine (SNAP) up-regulated COX-2 pathway and this effect was reduced by the guanylate cyclase inhibitor methylene blue. Thus, in squamous carcinoma cells, NO increases the activity of COX-2 pathway and this effect is probably mediated by endocellular cGMP level, with potential implications on tumor growth, angiogenesis, and therapy.

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