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November 16, 2004

COX-2 Inhibition And Cancer: Experimental Findings And Clinical Correlates.

Topics: Clinical Pharmacology

With the ever-increasing interest in Vioxx and it's very dangerous side effects, it's time for a little perspective on COX-2 inhibition. The problems with Vioxx should not be necessarily associated with a negative future for COX-2 inhibitors in therapeutics:

Abstract Report from "W V Med J. 2004 May-Jun;100(3):96-101."
Authored by Roberts EG, Vona-Davis L, Riggs DR, Jackson BJ, Hohseni H, Kandzari SJ, McFadden DW.

"To test the hypothesis that Cyclooyxgenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors would stop the growth of breast and prostate cancer cells in vitro, two breast (MCF-7, ZR75-1) and two prostate cancer cell lines (PC-3, DU145) were treated with rofecoxib (Vioxx) or NS398. Cell growth was measured by MTT at 24 and 72 hours. Statistical analysis was performed by ANOVA. Significant growth inhibition (p < 0.05) was observed in all cell lines in a dose-dependent manner after treatment with COX-2 inhibitors. Rofecoxib inhibited cellular proliferation by inducing (p < 0.001) apoptosis in breast cancer cells. The study indicates that COX-2 inhibition reduces the growth of human breast and prostate cancer in vitro. Human studies are needed to evaluate the clinical utility of rofecoxib treatment in breast or prostate cancers."

Interestingly, fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants and other cancer-fighting compounds have long been believed to decrease one's cancer risk and many of them have COX-2 inhibitor activity. It appears that foods such as turmeric (one of the major spices in curry powder), red grapes, rosemary, and green tea also have potent anticancer nutrients. All of these foods have properties resembling those of the COX-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx. Elevated COX-2 levels have been found in most solid tumors, from lung cancer to breast, prostate, bladder, and colon cancer. 

The findings reported in the above abstract are consistant with previous observations of other researchers and with what has long-believed to be a case for COX-2 inhibition in cancer. This is not a case for Vioxx, merely a case for a possible future for COX-2 inhibition in cancer. A safer inhibitor must be utilized (and well studied) in order that it then have a future in cancer therapy.

Posted by Hyscience at November 16, 2004 8:29 AM

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