, Volume 19, Issue 1-2, pp 19-27

The Contributions of Cyclooxygenase-2 to Tumor Angiogenesis

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Abstract

Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is an immediate early response gene that can be induced by a variety of tumor promoters, cytokines, growth factors and hypoxia. COX-2 overexpression is linked to all stages of carcinogenesis with the enzyme localized to the neoplastic cells, microvascular endothelial cells, and stromal fibroblasts. The contributions of COX-2 in tumor angiogenesis include: (a) the increased expression of the proangiogenic growth factor VEGF; (b) the production of the eicosanoid products thromboxane A2, PGE2 and PGI2 that can directly stimulate endothelial cell migration and growth factor-induced angiogenesis; and potentially, (c) the inhibition of endothelial cell apoptosis by stimulation of Bcl-2 or Akt activation. Selective pharmacological inhibitors of COX-2 as angiosuppressive agents could have therapeutic benefit in the treatment of neoplastic disease from prevention through treatment of advanced metastatic disease. These agents are safe and well tolerated and can be added to chemotherapy and radiation therapy where angiogenesis inhibitors appear to provide at least additive therapeutic benefit.