Celecoxib, a selective COX-2 inhibitor with promising anti-cancer properties, has now been found to attack prostate cancer cells in a second way that differs from Vioxx (rofecoxib), another anti-inflammatory drug that also inhibits COX-2.
In studies published in the March 1 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research, scientists at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University revealed that celecoxib, marketed under the name Celebrex, not only targets COX-2, but also reduces levels of a key protein, cyclin D1, that’s critical for cell replication. "It is well established that COX-2 is a significant and rational target for anti-cancer therapy," said Andrew Dannenberg, M.D., director of cancer prevention at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and senior author of the paper. "These studies suggest that celecoxib exerts a second mode of action independent of its known anti-inflammatory mechanism that imposes further restrictions on the proliferation of prostate cancer cells. The results provide potentially important insights into our understanding of the overall anti-tumor activity of selective COX-2 inhibitors."
Dannenberg and a team of investigators discovered this new mechanism by applying celecoxib to prostate cancer cells that failed to express COX-2. Here, the scientists observed that the celecoxib-treated cancer cells did not replicate as rapidly as untreated cells. After further analysis, they found the drug worked by suppressing amounts of cyclin D1, a protein that’s essential if cells are to grow, divide and spread.
Russell Vanderboom, Ph.D. | EurekAlert!
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