Non-steroidol anti-inflammatory drug effect on crypt cell proliferation and apoptosis during initiation of rat colon carcinogenesis

Br J Cancer. 1998 Feb;77(4):573-80. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1998.93.


Sustained use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may prevent colorectal cancer. However, the optimal drug, period of efficacy and mechanism(s) of action are unknown. Experiments were undertaken to determine which of several NSAIDs would modulate colon crypt cell proliferation or apoptosis when given during the initiation phase of 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH)-induced rat colon cancer. Colon crypts located both away from and over an aggregate of lymphoid nodules (ALN) were examined. Rats were injected with aspirin, indomethacin, nabumetone, sodium salicylate, 16,16-dimethyl prostaglandin E2 or saline for 3 days and DMH or DMH vehicle on day 4 of each week for 8 weeks, then killed 3 days after the last DMH injection. At the time of killing, DMH had significantly increased crypt cell proliferation but not apoptosis. There was significantly more cell proliferation and apoptosis in crypts over the ALN than away from the ALN. Aspirin and salicylate increased proliferation and apoptosis in crypts over the ALN. Finally, the distributional peaks of cell proliferation and apoptosis were shifted significantly closer together after DMH. Thus, DMH increases proliferation and alters the distribution of proliferating and apoptotic cells in colon crypts early in carcinogenesis. Aspirin may suppress tumour incidence via salicylate by enhancing apoptosis in carcinogen-initiated cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 1,2-Dimethylhydrazine
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Aspirin / pharmacology
  • Butanones / pharmacology
  • Carcinogens
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Colon / drug effects*
  • Colon / metabolism
  • Colon / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Indomethacin / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Nabumetone
  • Precancerous Conditions / chemically induced
  • Precancerous Conditions / metabolism
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology
  • Precancerous Conditions / prevention & control*
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / drug effects
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Regression Analysis


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Butanones
  • Carcinogens
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases
  • 1,2-Dimethylhydrazine
  • Nabumetone
  • Aspirin
  • Indomethacin