Over a million nonmelanoma skin cancer cases will be reported in the United States this year alone. Currently the primary form of treatment for these types of skin tumors is excision. However, excision of the initial lesion may not be curative because almost 50% of patients with one nonmelanoma skin cancer lesion develop another tumor within the next 5 yr at the site or adjacent to the site of excision. As with other types of epithelial based cancers, there is mounting evidence for the role of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and its products, particularly prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)), in the development of nonmelanoma skin cancer. To avoid the excision process, the present study was designed to evaluate the possible chemotherapeutic effect of directly treating established tumors with a topical formulation of the specific COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib. Skh/hr hairless mice were irradiated three times per wk for 16 wk to induce tumor formation. The mice were then divided into two groups and treated topically with either 500 microg celecoxib or the vehicle for 6 wk. Our results demonstrated that although topical treatment with celecoxib was not able to induce regression of established tumors, it did prevent new tumor formation after the onset of photocarcinogenesis. Although further studies are warranted, these data suggest that topical celecoxib treatment may prove to be effective in preventing the recurrence of tumors at the site of nonmelanoma skin cancer excision.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.