Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with different cyclooxygenase inhibitory profiles that prevent aberrant crypt foci formation but vary in acute gastrotoxicity in a rat model

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2000 Dec;15(12):1386-92. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1746.2000.02370.x.


Background: Standard non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce the risk of colorectal cancer; however, their use as preventive agents is limited by their inherent toxicity. Drugs that selectively inhibit cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) may be useful in this setting as they are supposedly less toxic. No study has directly compared the ability of standard NSAIDs and selective COX-2 inhibitors to inhibit colorectal cancer at clinically relevant doses.

Methods: Aberrant crypt foci (ACF) were induced in Sprague-Dawley rats by using 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH). Test agents or vehicle were then administered for 3 weeks, twice daily through orogastric gavage. At the end of this period, the number and multiplicity of ACF were determined. The agents tested at equivalent anti-inflammatory doses were: sulindac and indomethacin (standard NSAIDs), meloxicam (selective COX-2 inhibitor), celecoxib (specific COX-2 inhibitor) and sulindac sulfone (no known COX activity). Acute gastrotoxicity of NSAID in rats was compared by using quantitative histology.

Results: All test agents reduced the number of ACF. There was a 42% reduction with indomethacin, 46% with sulindac, 46% with meloxicam, 22% with celecoxib and 36% with sulindac sulfone. Only the COX-2 inhibitors caused no significant gastrotoxicity in rats.

Conclusions: Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors are potentially ideal chemopreventive agents as they inhibit ACF and are not gastrotoxic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Precancerous Conditions / prevention & control*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Stomach / drug effects*
  • Stomach / pathology*
  • Stomach Diseases / chemically induced*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors