The anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib may be a useful additional treatment for people with breast cancer, Dutch researchers report at the IMPAKT Breast Cancer Conference in Brussels.
The results of a randomized trial in 45 patients with primary invasive breast cancer showed that the drug --which is currently used to treat arthritis and other painful conditions-- clearly induced an anti-tumor response at the molecular level.
"This is exciting because it means that a medication already used to treat other diseases may be efficient in the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer as well," said lead researcher Juergen Veeck, from Maastricht University Medical Centre in The Netherlands.
Celecoxib is a member of a class of drugs known as selective COX-2 inhibitors. These drugs directly target COX-2, an enzyme responsible for inflammation and pain.
"We were pleased that the results from our clinical trial largely confirmed the existing data from several pre-clinical studies by showing that COX-2 inhibition leads to changes in cell proliferation, apoptosis, and extracellular matrix biology in primary breast cancer tissues," Dr Veeck said.
His group studied patients who were scheduled to have surgery to remove their cancer. Prior to surgery, patients were randomly assigned to receive either 400 mg celecoxib twice daily for two to three weeks, or control treatment, which was either an inactive placebo or no treatment.
The researchers analyzed the expression of particular genes in samples from the tumors before and after treatment. Other tests were performed to determine changes in proliferation and apoptosis (programmed cell death).
After treatment 1,109 genes were significantly up-regulated and 556 genes were significantly down-regulated in celecoxib-treated breast cancer tissues when compared to control treatment, they found.
Genes involved in cell proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis, extracellular
|Contact: Vanessa Pavinato|
European Society for Medical Oncology