Correlation of COX-2 and Ep-CAM Overexpression in Human Invasive Breast Cancer and Its Impact on Survival

Br J Cancer. 2003 Feb 24;88(4):574-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6600741.


Recent studies have demonstrated cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) overexpression in various human malignancies, especially in breast cancer, where COX-2 turned out to be a predictor of poor survival. To evaluate the relation of COX-2 and Ep-CAM overexpression and its prognostic significance, we performed a retrospective study on 212 breast cancer patients with a median follow-up time of 10.5 years. Overexpression of COX-2 in tumour tissue samples was assessed by immunohistochemistry. COX-2 overexpression was found in 48.6% of the tumour samples and was predictive for poor disease-free and overall survival. Univariate analysis revealed a strong correlation between COX-2 and Ep-CAM overexpression (P=0.009). Concurrent COX-2 and Ep-CAM overexpression was present in 21.7% of tumour specimens and had an additive negative impact on disease-free and overall survival. Determination of both tumour markers should help in guiding new therapeutic strategies in patients with invasive breast cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism*
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule
  • Isoenzymes
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases