Prognostic significance of cyclooxygenase 2 mRNA expression in non-small cell lung cancer

Ann Surg. 2002 Mar;235(3):440-3. doi: 10.1097/00000658-200203000-00017.


Objective: To investigate cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) mRNA expression in curatively resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and to determine its association with prognosis.

Summary background data: Lung cancer is one of the most common malignancies in the world. Despite improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of NSCLC, the 5-year survival rate remains less than 15%. Identification of prognostic predictors based on molecular alterations could lead to additional diagnostic tools and eventually to more effective therapeutic options. Overexpression of COX-2 has been reported in several human malignancies, including lung cancer, but the prognostic importance of this overexpression has not been elucidated.

Methods: COX-2 mRNA expression was analyzed using a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (Taqman) method in surgically resected tumor specimens from 89 patients with curatively resected NSCLC.

Results: COX-2 mRNA was detectable in all 89 (100%) tumor tissues. High COX-2 expression in tumors was significantly associated with inferior survival. Multivariate analysis showed that high COX-2 expression is an independent predictor of worse survival in patients with NSCLC.

Conclusions: High COX-2 mRNA expression is an important biomarker for biologically aggressive disease in NSCLC and might be helpful in identifying patients who would benefit from additional therapies for controlling their disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / surgery
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / genetics*
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Peroxidases / genetics*
  • Peroxidases / metabolism
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / genetics*
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Isoenzymes
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Peroxidases
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases