Expression analysis of cyclooxygenase-2 in patients suffering from esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

PLoS One. 2018 Oct 19;13(10):e0205508. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205508. eCollection 2018.


Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the aggressive malignancies and mechanisms underlying its pathogenesis remain unclear. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme system plays a crucial role in many gastrointestinal malignancies and is an important regulator of cell growth, proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation and transformation. More precise outcome of COX-2 in ESCC is less investigated. In this study we investigated the risk factors of ESCC and expression of COX-2 in Carcinoma in situ (CIS) and ESCC compared to normal esophageal mucosa. ESCC relationship to clinico-pathological parameters using immunohistochemistry was also part of this investigation. Current study was conducted in the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Khyber Medical University, Peshawar, Pakistan. A total of 69 diagnosed patients of ESCC, both Pakistanis and Afghans were enrolled. Various risk factors associated with ESCC were recorded. Mean age at the time of diagnosis was 55 years. Out of 69 patients of ESCC 46 (67%) were users of dipping tobacco (Naswar). Expression of COX-2 was determined in normal esophageal mucosa, CIS and invasive ESCC using Immunohistochemistry (IHC). Differences of mean were computed using ANOVA followed by applying Post Hoc test. Patients were categorized as positive with high expression or negative with low to nil expression. ANOVA showed large differences in expression of COX-2 in normal healthy mucosa compared with CIS and ESCC with the mean difference of -9.529 and -7.370 respectively, p-value being <.05 at 95% confidence interval (CI). No significant difference was noticed in the expression of COX-2 in CIS compared with ESCC with p-value >.05 at 95% CI. Our complete cohort (23-85 years) showed statistically significant difference in the expression of COX-2 gene in ESCC and CIS tissue samples compared with normal healthy mucosa. Results of this study indicate that over-expression of COX-2 is positively associated with ESCC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism*
  • Esophageal Mucosa / enzymology
  • Esophageal Mucosa / pathology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma / enzymology*
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Tobacco Use / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Use / metabolism
  • Tobacco Use / pathology
  • Tobacco, Smokeless


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cyclooxygenase 2

Grant support

This work was supported by Higher Education Commission, Pakistan; Project Number: NRPU4222; Grant Recipient: Muhammad Tahir Sarwar. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.