Reduction of intestinal neoplasia with adenomatous polyposis coli gene replacement and COX-2 inhibition is additive

J Gastrointest Surg. Jul-Aug 2002;6(4):563-8. doi: 10.1016/s1091-255x(01)00042-7.


Mutations of the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene are implicated early in colorectal tumorigenesis. Restoration of normal APC expression through gene therapy may prevent or reduce intestinal neoplasia. Furthermore, the relationship between colorectal tumors and increased cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) activity provides a rationale for the use of selective COX-2 inhibitors such as rofecoxib (Vioxx) to prevent the formation of polyps. This study was performed to determine the effects of liposome-mediated APC gene therapy and a selective COX-2 inhibitor on intestinal neoplasia in vivo. Five-week-old Min mice weaned on a 30% high-fat diet were randomized to receive no treatment (control), APC only, Vioxx only, and APC/Vioxx. APC-treated mice received a plasmid containing the human APC cDNA (pCMV-APC) mixed with a liposome preparation that was administered biweekly. Vioxx was administered at 200 ppm in the high-fat rodent chow. The control mice were treated similarly with a plasmid construct lacking the APC gene. Confirmation of exogenous APC gene expression was determined by Western blot analysis. After 2 months, there was a 54% and 70% reduction in the total number of intestinal polyps after APC and Vioxx treatment, respectively. Combined APC/Vioxx therapy reduced polyp formation by 87%. The reduction of intestinal neoplasia by APC gene replacement and COX-2 inhibition suggests their separate roles in intestinal tumorigenesis. Each modality, both individually and together, may prove therapeutic and therefore contribute to new strategies in the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Genes, APC*
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Isoenzymes / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Lactones / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases
  • Sulfones


  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Isoenzymes
  • Lactones
  • Sulfones
  • rofecoxib
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases