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Celebrex shows benefit in first-of-its-kind lung cancer chemoprevention trial
Date:5/15/2008

had the option to continue on the trial for three more months per their prior randomized arm; for those participants, a third and final broncoscopy was conducted at six months.

"In patients who had high risk features such as smoking, especially in the current smokers, we were able to see that a higher dose of Celebrex could decrease the proliferation marker KI-67 in these patients, as seen through their bronchial epithelium," said Kim. "We are encouraged that we have a drug like Celebrex that decreases the expression of this proliferation marker."

These findings are also significant in that the study shows that serial broncoscopies are feasible, explained Kim. "Although CT scanning and other imaging techniques are important, for lung cancer, it may be vital to examine actual tissue to see what the markers are doing in the actual epithelium of the lung so as to best understand if an individual has a higher or lower risk of developing lung cancer."

Celebrex is in a class of medications known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin or ibuprofen, which work by blocking chemical enzymes that cause inflammation.

The COX-2 enzyme inside cancer cells is thought to control the synthesis of prostaglandins, which are substances believed to trigger cancer cell growth. Researchers believe that prostaglandins promote the growth of new blood vessels to feed tumors, and also protect new cancers from destruction by the body's immune system. Blocking the COX-2 enzyme may reduce the amount of prostaglandin available to cancer cells and thus repress tumor growth, says Kim.

In December 2004, M. D. Anderson voluntarily suspended the trial at the request of Pfizer and the National Cancer Institute, the funding source for the study, until further data on the drug's risk for cardiac toxicities, specifically heart attacks and strokes, could be investigated. Months later, advisors to the FDA recommended that Celebrex contin
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Contact: Laura Sussman
lsussman@mdanderson.org
832-264-8893
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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