Chemoprevention strategies using NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors

Cancer Biol Ther. Jul-Aug 2003;2(4 Suppl 1):S140-9.


The chemopreventive efficacy of NSAIDs against colorectal cancer has been established. Also, NSAIDs may decrease the incidence of carcinomas of the esophagus, stomach, breast, lung, prostate, urinary bladder and ovary. The clinical use of these agents is limited to patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), which may benefit from chemopreventive treatment with sulindac or the selective COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib. The mechanism of chemoprevention by NSDAIDs is still a matter of debate. COX-2 inhibition explains at least part of the observed effects, however, other targets have been proposed. The effect of NSAIDs is incomplete and molecular mechanisms related to resistance need to be studied. Also, more effective chemopreventive regimens are needed; combination therapy appears attractive, potentially increasing efficacy and decreasing toxicity. This review discusses molecular and clinical aspects of chemoprevention of the adenomacarcinoma sequence with NSAIDs or COX-2 inhibitors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma / genetics
  • Carcinoma / prevention & control*
  • Carcinoma / therapy
  • Celecoxib
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Models, Biological
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases
  • Pyrazoles
  • Sulfonamides / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Isoenzymes
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Pyrazoles
  • Sulfonamides
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases
  • Celecoxib