Cyclooxygenase-2 in human non-small cell lung cancer

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2003 Mar;29(2):171-7. doi: 10.1053/ejso.2002.1316.


Aim: Recent studies report that the expression of cyclooxygenase (COX) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is increased, especially in adenocarcinoma. Platelet activating factor (PAF), n-sodium butyrate (n-BT), and phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) are important mediators of the inflammatory process.

Method: Expression of COX-2 in 67 stage 1 NSCLC paraffin-embedded tumor samples was determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Four NSCL cell lines were incubated and stimulated by PAF, n-BT and PMA for 48 h. Expression of COX-2 was determined by IHC, immunoblotting, and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

Result: IHC showed increasing immunoreactivity in 35 of 67 (52%) in stage I NSCLC, 31 of 53 (59%) in adenocarcinoma and 13 of 15 (87%) in bronchoalveolar cell carcinoma, but only 2 of 12 (17%) in epidermoid carcinoma. The COX-2 expression in NSCLC cells was 75% (3/4) and the COX-1 expression in NSCLC cells was 100% (4/4). After stimulation with PMA, n-BT, PAF and n-BT + PAF, the COX-2 expression in NSCLC cells was significantly increased in all cell lines.

Conclusions: The expression of COX-2 in NSCLC cells is high and was up-regulated by PMA, n-BT and PAF. We consider that COX-2 inhibitors will play an important role in the therapy of NSCLC.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Butyrates / pharmacology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / enzymology*
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inflammation Mediators / pharmacology
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Lung Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Platelet Activating Factor / pharmacology
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Butyrates
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Isoenzymes
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Platelet Activating Factor
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate