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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2003 Feb;24(2):96-102.

Cyclooxygenase 2: a molecular target for cancer prevention and treatment.

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Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Dept of Medicine, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Cyclooxygenase2 (COX-2), an inducible prostaglandin G/H synthase, is overexpressed in several human cancers. Here, the potential utility of selective COX-2 inhibitors in the prevention and treatment of cancer is considered. The mechanisms by which COX-2 levels increase in cancers, key data that indicate a causal link between increased COX-2 activity and tumorigenesis, and possible mechanisms of action of COX-2 are discussed. In a proof-of-principle clinical trial, treatment with the selective COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib reduced the number of colorectal polyps in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis. Selective COX-2 inhibitors appear to be sufficiently safe to permit large-scale clinical testing and numerous clinical trials are currently under way to determine whether selective inhibitors of COX-2 are effective in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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