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Clin Cancer Res. 2003 Oct 15;9(13):4756-60.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of the effects of rofecoxib, a selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, on rectal polyps in familial adenomatous polyposis patients.

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  • 1Department of Digestive Surgery, Graduate School, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan.



The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a specific cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, rofecoxib, on rectal polyps in familial adenomatous polyposis patients.


This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the efficacy and safety of rofecoxib in the rectum. Initially, 21 patients were assigned randomly in a 1:1 ratio to receive either 25 mg rofecoxib once a day or a placebo p.o. for 9 months. Patients underwent endoscopy at the beginning of the study and then every 3 months thereafter. We reviewed the videotapes to measure the number and size of polyps in the same area throughout the study period in each individual patient.


The polyp number, measured as the percentage of change from the baseline values, was significantly decreased in the rofecoxib group at 3, 6, and 9 months. At 9 months, the polyp number in the rofecoxib group decreased by 6.8% from the baseline values, whereas that in the placebo group increased by 3.1%. The 9.9% difference between the rofecoxib and placebo groups was statistically significant (P = 0.004). At 9 months, the rofecoxib group showed a significant reduction from the baseline in polyp size as compared with the placebo group (-16.2% versus 1.5%; P < 0.001). There was no statistically significant increase in the incidence of any adverse events in treatment with rofecoxib compared with placebo (P = 0.922).


In this study, once-daily treatment with 25 mg rofecoxib, a cyclooxygenase 2-specific inhibitor, significantly decreased the number and size of rectal polyps in familial adenomatous polyposis patients.

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