, Volume 14, Issue 9, pp 682-688
Date: 24 Jul 2012

Immunohistochemical expression of cyclooxygenase-2 in patients with advanced cancer of the larynx who have undergone induction chemotherapy with the intention of preserving phonation

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Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) is an enzyme that plays a role in different stages of the carcinogenic process and has prognostic and predictive values that have not yet been established. The objective of this study was to evaluate the role of COX2 overexpression in advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx that has been treated with a phonation conservation protocol.

Materials and methods

This study included a retrospective analysis of 59 patients with resectable tumours that were treated with chemotherapy (CT) and/or radiation therapy (RT). The expression levels of COX2, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR-2) in collected biopsy specimens were determined via immunohistochemistry.


Forty-four percent of the included samples demonstrated overexpression of COX2. In the statistical analysis, COX2 overexpression did not correlate with other clinical or treatment efficacy prognostic factors; however, the median global survival (OS) of patients whose tumours expressed COX2 was 79 months, whereas COX2-negative patients had a median OS of only 38 months, although this finding did not reach statistical significance. The other analysed biological parameters did not demonstrate a significant relationship with COX2.


COX2 overexpression was a common finding in our study. The results obtained did not reveal relationships with established prognostic categories; however, the difference in survival between patients with and without COX2 expression justifies the need for future prospective studies that utilise a larger patient sample size.