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Am J Clin Oncol. 2007 Oct;30(5):526-30.

COX-2 and NF-KB overexpression is common in pancreatic cancer but does not predict for COX-2 inhibitors activity in combination with gemcitabine and oxaliplatin.

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Clinica di Oncologia Medica, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche, Azienda ospedaliera Ospedali Riuniti Umberto I, Lancisi, Salesi, Ancona, Italy.



The attempt to improve therapeutic results in pancreatic carcinoma has recently focused on the emerging role of molecular biology. We investigated the role of COX-2 and NF-KB expression in relation to the use of a COX-2 inhibitor (celecoxib) associated to gemcitabine and oxaliplatin in pancreatic cancer.


Forty-four patients with histologically or cytologically verified, locally advanced unresectable and/or metastatic pancreatic carcinoma were eligible for the study.


Thirty-three patients (75%) assumed celecoxib for all their treatment period. Treatment was repeated every 2 weeks, until there was evidence of disease progression, patient refusal, or unacceptable toxicity. Efficacy was assessed according to tumor response, clinical benefit, and time-related parameters. Five patients had a partial response, 24 had a stable disease, and 15 had a disease progression, for an overall response rate of 11%. Biochemical response rate based on CA 19.9 levels showed 2 complete and 10 partial responses, whereas 31 patients presented no changes of CA 19.9 levels. COX-2 protein expression was found in 30 tumors, while a moderate or weak/absent expression was present in 10 patients. Sixteen tumors showed a strong expression for NF-KB, 4 a moderate expression, and 5 a weak/absent expression.


The use of a COX-2 inhibitor does not add any valuable activity to a gemcitabine/oxaliplatin combination, even in patients with COX-2 and NF-KB overexpressing tumors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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