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Ann Surg. 2005 Dec;242(6):840-9, discussion 849-50.

Neoadjuvant selective COX-2 inhibition down-regulates important oncogenic pathways in patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma.

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Departments of Surgery, Academic Medical Center, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



To evaluate the effects of neoadjuvant therapy with the selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor celecoxib in vitro and in patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma on COX-2 and MET expression.


High COX-2 and/or MET expression levels are negative prognostic factors for adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and selective COX-2 inhibitors exert anticancer mechanisms as is evident from epidemiologic studies and from experimental models for esophageal cancer. The mechanisms and the significance of these findings in patients with adenocarcinoma of the esophagus are unknown.


Esophageal adenocarcinoma cell lines were used to asses the effects in vitro. To study the clinical effects 12 patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma were included for neoadjuvant treatment (4 weeks) with celecoxib at 400 mg twice daily. Fifteen patients not receiving NSAIDs or celecoxib were included as a control. Effects were evaluated using the MTT-cell viability test, Western blot analysis, immunohistochemistry, and RT-PCR.


In vitro celecoxib administration resulted in decreased cell viability, increased apoptosis, and decreased COX-2 and MET expression levels. In patients, neoadjuvant treatment with celecoxib significantly down-regulated COX-2 and MET expression in the tumor when compared with the nontreated control group and when compared with pretreatment measurements.


This is the first study to show in vitro and in patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma that selective COX-2 inhibition down-regulates COX-2 and MET expression, both important proteins involved in cancer progression and dissemination. Therefore, (neo)adjuvant therapy with celecoxib might have clinical potential for patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma.

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