Silencing of cyclooxygenase-2 inhibits metastasis and delays tumor onset of poorly differentiated metastatic breast cancer cells

Mol Cancer Res. 2007 May;5(5):435-42. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-07-0010.


Cyclooxygenases (COX) are rate-limiting enzymes involved in the conversion of PLA(2)-mobilized arachidonic acid into prostaglandins and thromboxanes. COX-2 is a key mediator of inflammation during both physiologic and pathologic responses to endogenous stimuli and infectious agents. Its overexpression has been detected in different cancers, including that of the breast. Using RNA interference, we have reduced the expression of COX-2 in the highly malignant breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 below detectable levels in response to interleukin-1 beta or 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate treatment. Microarray analysis showed that COX-2 silencing resulted in the loss of mRNA expression of several oncogenic markers, such as matrix metalloproteinase-1, chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 4, and interleukin-11, which have been correlated with poor disease outcome, and in the up-regulation of antimetastatic transcripts, such as thrombospondin-1 and Epstein-Barr-Induced 3. Cells lacking COX-2 were less able to invade reconstituted extracellular matrix than parental cells in vitro. Consistent with these changes, loss of COX-2 resulted in the abolition or the significant delay of tumor onset when the cells were injected in the mammary fat pad of severe combined immunodeficient mice. Finally, silencing of COX-2 resulted in the inhibition of metastasis to the lungs of severe combined immunodeficient mice after intravenous injection. These data show that silencing of COX-2 abolishes the metastatic potential of MDA-MB-231 cells in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Clone Cells
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / deficiency*
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Cyclooxygenase 2