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Combination of Radiation and Celebrex (Celecoxib) Reduce Mammary and Lung Tumor Growth

Liu, Weimin; Chen, Yuhchyau; Wang, Wei; Keng, Peter; Finkelstein, Jacob; Hu, Dongping; Liang, Li; Guo, Min; Fenton, Bruce; Okunieff, Paul; Ding, Ivan

American Journal of Clinical Oncology: August 2003 - Volume 26 - Issue 4 - p S103-S109
doi: 10.1097/01.COC.0000074147.22064.67

The selective cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitor, celecoxib, alone and in combination with radiation was investigated in vitro and in vivo. Murine mammary tumor line (MCa-35) and human lung carcinoma line (A549) have high and low basal levels of COX-2 protein, respectively. Treatment of both tumor cells with celecoxib alone resulted in a dose- and time-dependent reduction of cell number (clonogenic cell death) and tumor cell growth rate in vitro; however, inhibition of tumor cell growth by celecoxib was not correlated with the reduction of COX-2 protein in tumor cells. Although both tumor cell types had similar DNA damage after celecoxib treatment, significant induction of tumor cell apoptosis was only observed in MCa-35. Celecoxib-mediated radiation sensitization also occurred in MCa-35 cells determined by clonogenic assay, in part due to a G2/M arrest at 8 to 24 hours after treatment. The tumor growth inhibitory effects of celecoxib were also studied in vivo. It was found that celecoxib inhibited both tumor growth after intragastric administration of celecoxib (5 daily doses of 50 mg/kg). Combined with a single 30-Gy dose of radiation, celecoxib resulted in additive effects on A549 tumors. Celecoxib-treated A549 tumors had marginal reduction of total and perfused blood vessels compared with untreated controls. Reduction of tumor angiogenic cytokine and growth factor mRNA was associated with decreased perfused vessels. Finally, reduction of vascular endothelial growth factor protein after celecoxib was also observed in both tumor lines by Western blot. Our results indicate that the selective inhibition of COX-2 combined with radiation has potential application in radiotherapy, and celecoxib-mediated antitumor effects may act through different mechanisms including direct inhibition of tumor cell proliferation, alteration of tumor cell cycle, and antiangiogenesis.

From the Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, U.S.A.

Supported in part by National Cancer Institute (NCI)/po1-CA110551-25A2 and a University of Rochester Cancer Center Discovery Grant.

Address correspondence and reprints requests to Dr. Ivan Ding, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Box 647, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14642, U.S.A.; e-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.