Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is reported to be an important cellular target for therapy in malignancies. The growth inhibitory effects of COX-2 inhibitors on malignancies have been demonstrated to be through not only COX-2 dependent, but also independent mechanisms. In this study, we showed that etodolac, COX-2 inhibitor, induced apoptosis via COX-2 independent pathway, and investigated the molecular details of etodolac-induced apoptosis in Burkitt's lymphoma cells. In Daudi and Raji Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines, which expressed no COX-2 enzyme, etodolac more strongly induced apoptosis compared to meloxicam. Moreover, etodolac did not induce apoptosis to normal B-lymphocytes. For the pathway of etodolac-induced apoptosis, reduction of anti-apoptotic bcl-2 mRNA and Bcl-2 protein, activation of Caspase-9 and -3, down-regulation of caspase inhibitors, c-IAP-1 and Survivin were involved. Moreover, EBER-1 and -2 expression in Epstein-Barr virus positive Daudi and Raji cells were reduced to result in down-regulation of Bcl-2 by treatment with etodolac. It has been reported that etodolac has stereoisomers, R- and S-etodolac. We found that racemate of etodolac more strongly induced apoptosis in Daudi and Raji cells compared to R- or S-etodolac. In conclusion, our findings indicated etodolac inhibited EBERs expression and induced apoptosis via a Bcl-2-regulated pathway. Moreover, racemate of etodolac more effectively induced apoptosis than R- and/or S-etodolac. Therefore, these activities of etodolac potentially extend to the treatment of patients with Burkitt's lymphoma resistant to chemotherapy.
Copyright Blackwell Munksgaard 2005.