NSAIDs in neuroblastoma therapy

Cancer Lett. 2005 Oct 18;228(1-2):195-201. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2005.01.058.


Cyclooxygenases (COX) catalyse the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandins. COX-2 is upregulated in several adult epithelial cancers. In neuroblastoma it has been shown that the majority of primary tumours and cell lines express high levels of COX-2, whereas normal adrenal medullas from children do not express COX-2. Treatment of neuroblastoma cells with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), inhibitors of COX, induces caspase-dependent apoptosis via the intrinsic mitochondrial pathway. Established neuroblastoma xenografts in nude rats treated with the dual COX-1/COX-2 inhibitor, diclofenac, or the COX-2 specific inhibitor, celecoxib significantly inhibits neuroblastoma growth in vivo. In vitro, arachidonic acid and diclofenac synergistically induces neuroblastoma cell death. This effect is further pronounced when lipoxygenases is inhibited simultaneously. Proton MR-spectroscopy (1H MRS) of neuroblastoma cells treated with COX-inhibitors demonstrates accumulation of polyunsaturated fatty acids and depletion of choline compounds. Thus, 1H MRS, which can be performed with clinical MR-scanners, is likely to provide pharmacodynamic markers of neuroblastoma response to COX-inhibition. Taken together, these data suggest the use of NSAIDs as a novel adjuvant therapy for children with neuroblastoma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Apoptosis
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Neuroblastoma / drug therapy*
  • Neuroblastoma / enzymology
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Nude


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors