Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), known to inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX), reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. COX is a key enzyme in prostaglandin biosynthesis, and two isoforms of COX, COX-1 and COX-2, have been identified. Recently COX-2 has been reported to frequently overexpress in colorectal neoplasms and to play a role in colorectal tumorigenesis and tumour progression. In this study, using immunohistochemistry, we examined COX-2 expression in advanced human colorectal cancer and its correlation with clinicopathological features. COX-2 expression was observed mainly in the cytoplasm of cancer cells in all the specimens examined, but some stromal cells and endothelial cells were also stained. According to the grade of COX-2 expression of the cancer cells, patients were divided into high- and low-COX-2 expression groups. High-COX-2 expression significantly correlated with tumour recurrence, especially haematogenous metastasis. These results suggest that a selective COX-2 inhibitor can be a novel class of therapeutic agents not only for tumorigenesis but also for haematogenous metastasis of colorectal cancer. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the correlation between COX-2 overexpression and recurrence of colorectal cancer.