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Celebrex May Reduce Levels of Lung Cancer Biomarker
Date:6/1/2008

Anti-inflammatory might one day help prevent malignancies, study suggests

SUNDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- A widely prescribed pain reliever may one day have value in helping to prevent lung cancer.

Researchers report that Celebrex (celecoxib), the last remaining cox-2 inhibitor on the U.S. market, may reduce levels of a biomarker indicating risk for this deadly disease. The team presented its findings Sunday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.

They stressed that this doesn't mean people should start taking the drug for this reason, as Celebrex has noted cardiovascular side effects, albeit effects that were not seen in this short-term study.

"This is a very early study," said Dr. Shakun Malik, director of the lung cancer program at Georgetown's Lombardi Cancer Center, in Washington, D.C. "It hasn't shown any effect on actual lung cancer. All it is showing is that it affects biomarkers. The hypothesis is that if biomarkers are affected, it will help, but we haven't shown that as of yet."

The researchers agreed.

"We cannot sit here and say that taking celecoxib is going to prevent lung cancer," said study author Dr. Edward S. Kim, M.D., an assistant professor of thoracic head and neck medical oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "What we do know was that Celebrex, when taken over a three- or six-month period, was safe to administer even at a higher dose of 800 milligrams daily."

"We certainly need to move forward with prospective validation," added Kim, who spoke at a Sunday news conference. In particular, researchers need to verify if reductions in biomarkers actually translate into a reduction in the risk of developing malignancies in the lung.

"It's too early to tell, but we're definitely interested in other trials to see how they make out with survival,' said Dr. Karen Reckamp, an assistant profe
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