Objective: To examine the chemopreventive effects of a selective cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitor, meloxicam, and a selective epidermal growth factor (EGF)-receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, gefitinib (as a single agent) on a carcinogen-induced rodent bladder carcinogenesis model.
Materials and methods: The study comprised 103 male Fisher-344 rats (8 weeks old); after initial carcinogen treatment for 8 weeks with 0.05%N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl)nitrosamine (BBN) in drinking water, the rats were divided into five groups, i.e. group 1, control (vehicle only); group 2, gefitinib high-dose (15 mg/kg by gavage once daily); group 3, gefitinib low-dose (5 mg/kg); group 4, meloxicam high-dose (1.8 mg/kg by gavage once daily); and group 5, meloxicam low-dose (0.6 mg/kg). Twelve weeks later the rats were killed; after fixing the bladder in 10% formalin, the number and size of hyperplasia and carcinoma foci were recorded microscopically in sections stained with haematoxylin and eosin, submitted entirely as multiple strips.
Results: The incidence of carcinoma, confirmed microscopically, was: control 14/20 (70%); high-dose gefitinib, 7/20 (35%); low-dose gefitinib, 7/20 (35%); high-dose meloxicam 7/21 (33%); and low-dose meloxicam, 12/20 (60%). The mean numbers of carcinomas per bladder in groups 1-5 were 1.2, 0.5, 0.4, 0.5 and 1.1, respectively. The incidence and the mean number of carcinomas per bladder were significantly lower in the treatment groups (P < 0.05) than in the control group, except in the low-dose meloxicam group. There were no significant adverse effects.
Conclusion: Both meloxicam and gefitinib have inhibitory effects on rat bladder carcinogenesis with no significant adverse effects. A combination of these drugs would be worth studying for their synergistic effects.