Background: Cyclooxygenase (COX) -2, an inducible isoform of COX, has been observed to be expressed in prostate cancer. Several studies have reported that COX-2 overexpression is associated with carcinogenesis, cell growth, angiogenesis, apoptosis, and invasiveness in a variety of tumor types.
Methods: To investigate the function of COX-2 in prostate cancer directly, we stably transfected human full-length COX-2 cDNA into LNCaP cells (LNCaP-COX-2), which express low levels of endogenous COX-2.
Results: The level of COX-2 mRNA and protein and the COX activity in COX-2 LNCaP-COX-2 cells was significantly increased compared with parent and control-transfected cells. Overexpression of COX-2 increased both proliferation in vitro and tumor growth rate in vivo. However, the pro-tumor effect was neither associated with changes of androgen receptor (AR) expression level nor AR activity. Furthermore, addition of the major metabolites of COX-2-mediated arachidonic acid metabolism did not alter the proliferation of LNCaP-COX-2 cells in vitro. LNCaP-COX-2 cells had increased secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protein, suggesting that angiogenesis induced by COX-2 stimulates tumor growth in vivo.
Conclusion: These data demonstrate that COX-2 contributes to prostate cancer progression and suggest that it mediates this effect, in part, through increased VEGF.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.