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Semin Oncol. 2004 Apr;31(2 Suppl 7):2-11.

Multiple roles of COX-2 in tumor angiogenesis: a target for antiangiogenic therapy.

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Department of Translational Medicine, NeoPharm Inc., 150 Field Drive, Suite 195, Lake Forest, IL 60045, USA.


Angiogenesis is required for multistage carcinogenesis. The inducible enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is an important mediator of angiogenesis and tumor growth. COX-2 expression occurs in a wide range of preneoplastic and malignant conditions; and the enzyme has been localized to the neoplastic cells, endothelial cells, immune cells, and stromal fibroblasts within tumors. The proangiogenic effects of COX-2 are mediated primarily by three products of arachidonic metabolism: thromboxane A(2) (TXA(2)), prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)), and prostaglandin I(2) (PGI(2)). Downstream proangiogenic actions of these eicosanoid products include: (1) production of vascular endothelial growth factor; (2) promotion of vascular sprouting, migration, and tube formation; (3) enhanced endothelial cell survival via Bcl-2 expression and Akt signaling; (4) induction of matrix metalloproteinases; (5) activation of epidermal growth factor receptor-mediated angiogenesis; and (6) suppression of interleukin-12 production. Selective inhibition of COX-2 activity has been shown to suppress angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Because these agents are safe and well tolerated, selective COX-2 inhibitors could have clinical utility as antiangiogenic agents for cancer prevention, as well as for intervention in established disease alone or in combination with chemotherapy, radiation, and biological therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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