The role of cyclooxygenase-2 in cell proliferation and cell death in human malignancies

Int J Cell Biol. 2010;2010:215158. doi: 10.1155/2010/215158. Epub 2010 Mar 17.

Abstract

It is well admitted that the link between chronic inflammation and cancer involves cytokines and mediators of inflammatory pathways, which act during the different steps of tumorigenesis. The cyclooxygenases (COXs) are a family of enzymes, which catalyze the rate-limiting step of prostaglandin biosynthesis. This family contains three members: ubiquitously expressed COX-1, which is involved in homeostasis; the inducible COX-2 isoform, which is upregulated during both inflammation and cancer; and COX-3, expressed in brain and spinal cord, whose functions remain to be elucidated. COX-2 was described to modulate cell proliferation and apoptosis mainly in solid tumors, that is, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers, and, more recently, in hematological malignancies. These findings prompt us to analyze here the effects of a combination of COX-2 inhibitors together with different clinically used therapeutic strategies in order to further improve the efficiency of future anticancer treatments. COX-2 modulation is a promising field investigated by many research groups.