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Combining NSAIDs With Chemotherapy May Improve Cancer Therapy

combine celecoxib with chemotherapies for head and neck cancer."

Trask's research team included Jonathan Bock, M.D., a UI resident in otolaryngology and lead author of the two studies published in recent issues of the journals Molecular Carcinogenesis and Cancer Research. Prabhat Goswami, Ph.D., UI assistant professor, and Frederick Domann, Ph.D., UI professor, both faculty in radiation oncology and in the Free Radical and Radiation Biology Graduate Program, also were part of the UI team. Trask, Goswami and Domann all are members of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UI.

Goswami and Domann added that when radiation is used to treat head and neck cancers after surgery, the cells most resistant to radiation therapy are in the S phase. Thus celecoxib's selective killing of cells in S phase suggests this class of drug may target the radio-resistant cells, and use of the drug together with radiation might provide better tumor control than radiation alone.

Because inflammation is thought to play a role in the development of certain cancers, numerous studies have investigated the role of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in cancer prevention. However, few studies have systematically evaluated the relative anticancer activity of different NSAIDS.

In one study, published in the April 5 online issue of Molecular Carcinogenesis, the UI scientists tested 10 commercially available NSAIDs against head and neck cancer cells. They found that celecoxib and sulindac sulfide, (sold as Clinoril sulfide) are particularly effective at slowing cancer cell proliferation and at killing cancer cells. Of these two, celecoxib is by far the most potent, killing up to 60 percent of head and neck cancer cells under the study conditions. None of the other 10 NSAIDs in the study, including aspirin, naproxen (Aleve) or rofecoxib (Vioxx), showed effective anticancer activity.

The experiments also indicated that celeco
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