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COX-2 Inhibition May Stop Meningioma Development

Posted on: 05/28/2002

COX-2 Inhibition May Stop Meningioma Development

Cancer researchers at the Jefferson Medical College reported at the 38th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) that the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is overexpressed in two common tumor types. This, they believe, means that antiarthritic drugs that work to inhibit this enzyme may help to block the activity of the enzyme and help to treat the diseases.

Adam Dicker, MD, PhD, associate professor of Radiation Oncology and director of the division of Experimental Radiation at the Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and others theorized that COX-2 could be extremely active in meningiomas and pituitary macroadenomas. COX-2 also is known to enhance the effects of radiation and chemotherapy on some tumors.

The tumors, however, are quite different—meningiomas can grow to become large and cause various symptoms, while pituitary tumors are benign and are more likely to cause hormonal imbalances in the body and/or visual problems.

Dr. Dicker and Lawrence Kenyon, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Pathology, Anatomy, and Cell Biology at Jefferson Medical College, worked with others in analyzing tumor samples from 83 meningioma patients. The team found that COX-2 expression is higher than normal in the tumors, with more aggressive disease found with the greater amount of enzyme present.

In a second study, the researchers analyzed 35 samples from patients with benign macroadenomas and found that the tumors also overexpressed COX-2. Pituitary tumors with high levels of the enzyme also showed high levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone.

According to Dr. Dicker, these results may be important in developing possible treatments for brain tumors. In the future, the team will examine the effectiveness of COX-2 inhibition used alone or with radiotherapy in treating brain tumors. He is taking part in research planned by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group to examine use of COX-2 and other targeted therapies against meningioma.

Source: Oncology News International
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