Send to

Choose Destination
Hum Pathol. 2003 Dec;34(12):1242-6.

Cyclooxygenase-2 expression in stromal tumors of the gastrointestinal tract.

Author information

Department of Pathology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


Cyclooxygenase (COX) is a key enzyme in the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandins, prostacyclin, and thromboxane. COX-2 is expressed in many epithelial malignancies, particularly those of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. COX-2 has been implicated in the pathogenesis of cancers and has a significant negative effect on survival. To date, little is known about the expression of COX-2 in nonepithelial tumors. The objective of this study was to evaluate the expression of COX-2 in GI stromal tumors (GISTs). We evaluated 15 GISTs using tissue microarray. Tissue blocks were retrieved and stained with hematoxylin and eosin to evaluate the histological tumor type. In addition, immunohistochemistry was performed for COX-2, the macrophage marker, CD68 (KP-1), and KIT (CD117). Two pathologists then evaluated the tissues to determine the extent and intensity of COX-2 expression. The location of CD68-positive cells, and whether these cells were COX-2 positive, was also evaluated. The results showed that 80% (12 of 15) of the tumors expressed COX-2. Expression was noted in the cytoplasm of the tumor cells, with variable intensity of staining among the tumors. COX-2 was expressed in both epithelial cell and spindle cell tumors, but appeared stronger in epithelial lesions. In mixed lesions, COX-2 was expressed to a greater extent in epithelial areas. There was a greater extent of COX-2 expression in malignant tumors and tumors located within the stomach. Tumor-infiltrating macrophages (CD68-positive cells) were identified in all of the lesions; in 80% of cases, those macrophages also expressed COX-2. This study is the first to demonstrate COX-2 expression in stromal lesions of the GI tract. The enzyme may play a role in the proliferation of these lesions, suggesting the potential use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center