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Clin Cancer Res. 2003 Jul;9(7):2651-6.

Correlation between cyclooxygenase-2 expression and angiogenesis in human breast cancer.

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  • 1Academic Departments of Biochemistry, Royal Marsden Hospital, London SW3 6JJ, United Kingdom.



Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 is overexpressed in breast cancer and may have a role in regulating tumor growth via effects on angiogenesis, cell proliferation, or apoptosis. This study aimed to derive data from human breast carcinomas to help substantiate or refute these relationships.


We performed immunohistochemical analysis of a set of 86 breast tumors for COX-2, estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PGR), HER-2, Ki67 (a marker of proliferation), and CD31 (an endothelial cell marker of angiogenesis).


COX-2 protein expression was detected in 79% of all tumors studied, ER was detected in 79% of all tumors studied, PGR was detected in 73% of all tumors studied, and HER-2 was detected in 16% of all tumors studied. COX-2 protein expression did not significantly correlate with tumor size, grade, axillary lymph node status, or the presence of vascular invasion. A significant negative correlation (P < 0.001) was observed between ER and Ki67. COX-2 expression showed a significant linear correlation with CD31 staining (P < 0.001). No significant correlations were observed between COX-2 and ER, PGR, or HER-2.


This study demonstrates a novel relationship between COX-2 expression and the neovasculature of human breast adenocarcinomas. If this is a functional relationship, it provides support for a potential therapeutic role of COX-2 inhibitors in human breast cancer tissue via their antiangiogenic properties.

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