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Semin Oncol. 2004 Feb;31(1 Suppl 3):64-73.

Cyclooxygenase-2: a potential target in breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN, USA.


Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs has been shown to result in a 40% to 50% reduction in the relative risk of developing colorectal cancer. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) overexpression occurs in 43% of human invasive breast cancers and 63% of ductal carcinomas in situ. There is considerable in vitro, animal model, and epidemiologic evidence to suggest that COX-2 may play some role in breast tumor initiation and progression. PGE(2) is a major downstream mediator of COX-2 that promotes cellular proliferation and angiogenesis, makes cells resistant to apoptosis, enhances invasiveness, and modulates immunosuppression. COX-2 and COX-2-derived PGE(2) may be involved in mammary carcinogenesis. Therefore, COX-2 selective inhibitors may have a role in breast cancer prevention.

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