Antitumor and anti-metastatic effects of cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition by celecoxib on human colorectal carcinoma xenografts in nude mouse rectum

Oncol Rep. 2012 Sep;28(3):777-84. doi: 10.3892/or.2012.1885. Epub 2012 Jun 26.


We examined the effects of the preferential cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor celecoxib on tumorigenesis, angiogenesis, apoptosis, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protein expression and metastasis in HT-29 human colorectal carcinoma cell xenografts in nude mouse rectum. COX-2 mRNA expression was examined in the xenograft and metastatic sites. The antitumor effect of celecoxib in the xenografts was evaluated by measuring the weight of the peri-ano-rectal tumor. The anti-metastatic effect of celecoxib was assessed by quantification of lymph node and lung metastases by amplification of a cancer-related human DNA by TaqMan PCR. The effects of celecoxib on angiogenesis, apoptosis, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production and VEGF protein expression in the xenografts were evaluated by means of microvessel density (MVD) counting, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated nick end labeling assay, quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and western blotting, respectively. The rectal xenograft model showed lymph node and lung metastases with enhanced expression of COX-2 mRNA in each organ. Celecoxib inhibited rectal xenograft growth in a dose-dependent manner as follows: 150 ppm, 33.0% (p=0.000220); 750 ppm, 46.4% (p=0.0000292); 1500 ppm, 63.4% (p=0.0000109). Celecoxib inhibited lymph node metastasis in a dose-dependent manner as follows: 150 ppm, 86.7% (p=0.0263); 750 ppm, 90.3% (p=0.00638); 1500 ppm, 96.0% (p=0.000894). Celecoxib also inhibited lung metastasis as follows: 750 ppm, 53.3% (p=0.0107); 1500 ppm, 78.3% (p=0.00022). Celecoxib (1500 ppm) significantly inhibited PGE2 production by 68.4% (p=0.000157) and MVD counting by 48.2% (p=1.3x10-12) and induced apoptosis 2.5-fold (p=3.0x10-14) in the rectal xenograft. Celecoxib suppressed VEGF protein expression in the rectal xenograft. These studies demonstrate that celecoxib reduces the growth and metastatic potential of colorectal carcinoma in mice through COX-2 inhibition, anti-angiogenesis and apoptosis induction. The studies using HT-29 human colorectal carcinoma cell xenografts in nude mouse rectum also provide important information that supports that the COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib has a high potential for use as a clinical agent for inhibition of hematological and lymphatic metastases of colorectal cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Celecoxib
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / genetics
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / prevention & control
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology*
  • Pyrazoles / therapeutic use
  • Sulfonamides / pharmacology*
  • Sulfonamides / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Burden / drug effects
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Pyrazoles
  • Sulfonamides
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Celecoxib
  • Dinoprostone