Barcelona, Spain: Researchers in Portugal have discovered that a specific mutation of the COX2 gene seems to play a role in the onset of ovarian cancer, increasing womens susceptibility to developing the disease.
The discovery raises the possibility that, if the findings are confirmed by further studies, it might be possible to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, which are used already for other conditions, to prevent ovarian cancer developing in women with the COX2 mutation.
Dr Ana Carina Pereira told the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) in Barcelona, today (Tuesday) that the COX2 gene is responsible for the production of the enzyme COX-2, which plays a crucial role in prostaglandins production; prostaglandins cause inflammation, pain and fever, as well as mediating a wide range of other physiological processes. Although the causes of ovarian cancer are not fully understood yet, inflammation is known to play an important role in the onset of both ovarian and invasive cervical cancer, she said. COX-2 has an important role in the inflammatory process, as well as in key steps in tumour development.
Dr Pereira, who is a junior scientist in the molecular oncology group at the Portuguese Institute of Oncology, Oporto, Portugal, said that one mutation, the -765G>C COX2 polymorphism, had been associated with the development of a number of diseases such as cancers of the stomach, oesophagus and prostate, and asthma, heart attacks and stroke. So she and her colleagues decided to investigate the role it played in ovarian and invasive cervical cancer.
They analysed the DNA in blood samples from 727 women; 150 had ovarian cancer, 351 had cervical lesions, including 291 with cervical cancer, and the remaining 226 women had no cancer and were the control group.
Although they found no evidence that the -765G>C COX2 polymorphism played a role in cervical cancer, they found that par
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ECCO-the European CanCer Conference