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J Surg Oncol. 1998 Nov;69(3):168-72.

Expression of cyclooxygenase-2 protein in gastric adenocarcinoma.

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Department of Surgery I, National Defense Medical College, Tokorozawa, Japan.



Epidemiological studies have suggested that the regular use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, which inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX), reduces the risk of colon cancer. The inducible COX-2 isoform has been reported to be upregulated in colorectal carcinomas and may play a role in colorectal carcinogenesis. The purpose of this study was to investigate the expression of COX-2 protein in human gastric adenocarcinomas.


COX-2 protein expression was examined in 23 patients with gastric adenocarcinoma by immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry.


There was an increase in COX-2 protein levels in 19 of the 23 carcinomas (83%) compared with the paired normal gastric mucosa by an immunoblot analysis. There was no correlation between tumor histology and COX-2 protein expression. An immunohistochemical study in the 19 cases showed diffuse COX-2 staining in the cytoplasm of cancer cells. Mononuclear cells or fibroblasts of the cancer stroma were not stained with COX-2. Sporadic staining for COX-2 was observed in the normal fundic or metaplastic glandular cells in all cases.


COX-2 protein expression was elevated in most human gastric adenocarcinomas in comparison to the normal mucosa. COX-2 may therefore play an important role in gastric carcinogenesis.

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