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Ann Oncol. 2004 May;15(5):797-801.

Expression of Cox-2 protein in radioresistant laryngeal cancer.

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  • 1Postgraduate Medical Institute of the University of Hull and Hull York Medical School, University of Hull, Castle Hill Hospital, Hull HU16 5JQ, UK.



Radiotherapy is the principal modality used to treat early stage laryngeal cancer. Unfortunately treatment failures occur in 10-25% of patients. Subsequent salvage surgery is technically more difficult, with increased complication and failure rates. The ability to predict or prevent radioresistance would improve the poor survival associated with this disease. Cox-2 is an inducible enzyme involved with prostaglandin synthesis. We investigated a potential role for Cox-2 in predicting radioresistance in laryngeal cancer.


Using immunohistochemical techniques we examined the expression of Cox-2 protein in 122 pre-treatment laryngeal biopsies. All tumours were treated with single modality radiotherapy (curative intent). The group comprised of 61 radioresistant and 61 radiosensitive tumours matched for T stage, laryngeal subsite, gender and smoking history.


Cox-2 expression was detected in 41 of 61 (67%) biopsy samples from patients with radioresistant tumours and 25 of 61 (41%) radiosensitive tumours. Overexpression was significantly associated with radioresistant tumours (P = 0.004). Cox-2 has a 67% accuracy in predicting radiotherapy failure.


Cox-2 may have prognostic value in predicting response to radiotherapy. Cox-2 inhibitors such as NS-398 have been shown to enhance the effects of radiotherapy. We suggest that their use may be beneficial in patients who are destined to fail radiotherapy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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