Expression of nitric oxide synthase, cyclooxygenase, and p53 in different stages of human gastric cancer

Cancer Lett. 2001 Oct 30;172(2):177-85. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3835(01)00645-0.


The present study evaluated the significance of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), cyclooxygenase (COX) expression and p53 status in 55 patients with gastric adenocarcinoma and relationship of these molecular markers to tumor characteristics and metastatic potential. Immunohistochemical technique was used to identify the cellular location and distribution of the enzymes in the specific cells of gastric tumors. In gastric cancer tissue, the expression of inducible enzymes, iNOS and COX-2, increased significantly with increasing tumor stage (P=0.015, P=0.001, respectively), size (P=0.025, P=0.001, respectively) and the presence of metastases (P=0.002, P=0.015, respectively). The expression of constitutive enzymes, ecNOS and COX-1, followed the opposite pattern. COX-1 was significantly reduced in advanced gastric tumors (P=0.007) and tumors larger than 5 cm (P=0.007). Reduced expression of ecNOS was also observed in advanced gastric tumors; however, this did not reach statistical significance. 53% of gastric tumors showed accumulation of p53. This was significantly higher in advanced tumors (P=0.004), larger than 5 cm (P=0.015) with metastases (P<0.001). Gastric tumors positive for accumulation of p53 had significantly stronger expression of iNOS (P=0.018) and COX-2 (P=0.01) enzymes than tumors negative for this nucleophosphoprotein. We conclude, that tumor-associated nitric oxide production, as well as COX-2 overexpression, may promote gastric cancer progression by providing a selective growth advantage to tumor cells with non-functioning p53.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism*
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / analysis*


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases