Cyclooxygenase-2 expression in pediatric sarcomas

Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2002 Jul-Aug;5(4):356-64. doi: 10.1007/s10024-002-0005-1. Epub 2002 May 24.


Therapies for metastatic pediatric sarcomas have reached maximum tolerated doses, but continue to provide suboptimal cure rates. Additionally, these treatments are associated with numerous short- and long-term side effects. Therefore, the search for newer, less toxic therapeutic agents is warranted. Overexpression of the inducible enzyme, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), has been discovered in a variety of adult solid tumors and numerous studies have shown COX-2 inhibitors to have significant antiproliferative effects. Therefore, we sought to determine the expression of COX-2 in pediatric sarcomas. We evaluated rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), osteosarcoma (OS), and Ewing sarcoma (EWS) samples for COX-2 expression by immunohistochemical analysis as well as by cDNA microarray analysis. COX-2 expression was detected in 48/58 (82.8%) tumors by immunohistochemistry and in an additional 52/59 (88.1%) tumors tested by microarray gene analysis. There was a trend toward increased COX-2 expression in metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma and osteosarcoma, though it did not reach clinical significance. The degree of COX-2 immunoreactivity did not vary significantly with other clinicopathologic features such as age, gender, or histologic classification. We conclude that the majority of these pediatric sarcoma samples express COX-2 to varying degrees. Therefore, studies testing the efficacy of COX-2 inhibitors in the treatment of pediatric sarcomas are warranted.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bone Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Bone Neoplasms / genetics
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Child
  • Cyclooxygenase 1
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Isoenzymes / biosynthesis*
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Osteosarcoma / enzymology
  • Osteosarcoma / genetics
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / biosynthesis*
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / genetics
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / enzymology
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / genetics
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / pathology
  • Sarcoma / enzymology*
  • Sarcoma / genetics
  • Sarcoma / pathology
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / enzymology
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / genetics
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / pathology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Isoenzymes
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Cyclooxygenase 1
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS1 protein, human
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases