Cyclooxygenase-2 as a target for prevention of colorectal cancer

Curr Oncol Rep. 1999;1(2):173-8. doi: 10.1007/s11912-999-0030-6.


COX-2 is an isoenzyme of cyclooxygenase that is increased in response to growth factors, cytokines, and other mitogenic stimuli. Upregulation of COX-2 gene expression and functional activity is an early event in colorectal tumor formation. The long-term use of cyclooxygenase inhibitors, such as aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, is associated with a decreased rate of colorectal tumors. This observation holds across a range of experimental models, from animal genetic tumor models to large epidemiologic studies of human sporadic colorectal cancer. Selective inhibitors of COX-2 were primarily developed to treat COX-2-related inflammation with minimal side effects. These drugs, however, may also provide safe, effective chemoprevention of colorectal neoplasia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Arachidonic Acid / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism*
  • Rats


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Isoenzymes
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases