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Clin Cancer Res. 2004 Dec 15;10(24):8465-71.

Cyclooxygenase-2 expression: a significant prognostic indicator for patients with colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Department of Surgical Oncology, Graduate School, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan.



Recent studies have shown that cyclooxygenase (Cox)-2 may be involved in colorectal carcinogenesis. We aimed to determine whether Cox-2 expression in itself can predict outcome of colorectal cancer patient after surgery. In addition, the expression of Cox-1 was also evaluated.


Tissue samples of primary and secondary tumors from 288 patients undergoing surgical resections for colorectal adenocarcinoma were immunohistochemically examined for Cox-2 and Cox-1 expressions. The specimens were graded based on the intensity and extent of staining; then, the correlations between Cox-2 and Cox-1 expressions with clinicopathologic parameters and survival time were analyzed.


Expression of Cox-2 was positive in 70.8% of primary tumor, 92.0% of lymph node metastases, 100.0% of hepatic metastases, and was significantly associated with tumor size, depth of invasion, lymph node metastasis, vessels invasion, stage and recurrence. In contrast, Cox-1 was positive in 42.7% of primary tumor, 84.0% of lymph node metastases, 37.5% hepatic metastases, and was associated with only tumor size. Patients with Cox-2-positive tumors had a significant shorter survival time than those with negative tumors did (P = 0.0006 by log-rank test); and, in a multivariate analysis, Cox-2 was an independent prognostic factor (P = 0.0103; relative risk 4.114; 95% confidence interval, 1.397-12.120). Cox-1 status had no statistically effect on patient survival time.


Elevated Cox-2 expression, but not that of Cox-1, was significantly associated with reduced survival and recognized as an independent prognostic factor in our cohort of colorectal cancer patients.

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