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Mol Cancer Res. 2004 Nov;2(11):632-42.

Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells in an in vivo model of spontaneous metastatic breast cancer.

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Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 13400 East Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, USA.


Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors are rapidly emerging as a new generation of therapeutic drug in combination with chemotherapy or radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. The mechanisms underlying its antitumor effects are not fully understood and more thorough preclinical trials are needed to determine if COX-2 inhibition represents a useful approach for prevention and/or treatment of breast cancer. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the growth inhibitory mechanism of a highly selective COX-2 inhibitor, celecoxib, in an in vivo oncogenic mouse model of spontaneous breast cancer that resembles human disease. The oncogenic mice carry the polyoma middle T antigen driven by the mouse mammary tumor virus promoter and develop primary adenocarcinomas of the breast. Results show that oral administration of celecoxib caused significant reduction in mammary tumor burden associated with increased tumor cell apoptosis and decreased proliferation in vivo. In vivo apoptosis correlated with significant decrease in activation of protein kinase B/Akt, a cell survival signaling kinase, with increased expression of the proapoptotic protein Bax and decreased expression of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2. In addition, celecoxib treatment reduced levels of proangiogenic factor (vascular endothelial growth factor), suggesting a role of celecoxib in suppression of angiogenesis in this model. Results from these preclinical studies will form the basis for assessing the feasibility of celecoxib therapy alone or in combination with conventional therapies for treatment and/or prevention of breast cancer.

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