Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and COX-2 inhibitors as anti-cancer therapeutics: Hypes, hopes and reality

Curzio Rüegg*, Jelena Zaric, Roger Stupp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations

Abstract

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and specific inhibitors of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, are therapeutic groups widely used for the treatment of pain, inflammation and fever. There is growing experimental and clinical evidence indicating NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors also have anti-cancer activity. Epidemiological studies have shown that regular use of Aspirin and other NSAIDs reduces the risk of developing cancer, in particular of the colon. Molecular pathology studies have revealed that COX-2 is expressed by cancer cells and cells of the tumor stroma during tumor progression and in response to chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Experimental studies have demonstrated that COX-2 over expression promotes tumorigenesis, and that NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors suppress tumorigenesis and tumor progression. Clinical trials have shown that NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors suppress colon polyp formation and malignant progression in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) syndrome. Recent advances in the understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the anti-cancer effects of NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors have demonstrated that these drugs target both tumor cells and the tumor vasculature. The therapeutic benefits of COX-2 inhibitors in the treatment of human cancer in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy are currently being tested in clinical trials. In this article we will review recent advances in the understanding of the anti-tumor mechanisms of these drugs and discuss their potential application in clinical oncology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-487
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Medicine
Volume35
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 25 2003

Keywords

  • Angiogenesis
  • Cancer
  • Clinical trials
  • Cyclooxygenase
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Prevention
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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