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Cancer Res. 2005 Oct 15;65(20):9473-8.

Celecoxib and NS-398 enhance photodynamic therapy by increasing in vitro apoptosis and decreasing in vivo inflammatory and angiogenic factors.

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Department of Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) elicits both apoptotic and necrotic responses within treated tumors and produces microvascular injury leading to inflammation and hypoxia. PDT also induces expression of angiogenic and survival molecules including vascular endothelial growth factor, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and matrix metalloproteinases. Adjunctive administration of inhibitors to these molecules improves PDT responsiveness. In the current study, we examined how the combination of PDT and COX-2 inhibitors improve treatment responsiveness. Photofrin-mediated PDT combined with either celecoxib or NS-398 increased cytotoxicity and apoptosis in mouse BA mammary carcinoma cells. Immunoblot analysis of protein extracts from PDT-treated cells also showed poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage and Bcl-2 degradation, which were further enhanced following combined therapy. Tumor-bearing mice treated with PDT and either celecoxib or NS-398 exhibited significant improvement in long-term tumor-free survival when compared with PDT or COX-2 inhibitor treatments alone. The combined procedures did not increase in vivo tumor-associated apoptosis. Administration of celecoxib or NS-398 attenuated tissue levels of prostaglandin E2 and vascular endothelial growth factor induced by PDT in treated tumors and also decreased the expression of proinflammatory mediators interleukin-1beta and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Increased tumor levels of the antiinflammatory cytokine, interleukin 10, were also observed following combined treatment. This study documents for the first time that adjunctive use of celecoxib enhances PDT-mediated tumoricidal action in an in vivo tumor model. Our results also show that administration of COX-2 inhibitors enhance in vitro photosensitization by increasing apoptosis and improve in vivo PDT responsiveness by decreasing expression of angiogenic and inflammatory molecules.

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