Editorials

Cyclo-oxygenase 2 and breast cancer prevention

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7162.828 (Published 26 September 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:828

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents are worth testing in breast cancer

  1. Harri Vainio ([email protected]), Chief,
  2. Gareth Morgan, Technical officer
  1. Unit of Chemoprevention, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 69372 Lyons Cedex 08, France

    A new interest in chemoprevention in oncology has been stimulated by good evidence that aspirin and to a lesser degree other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may have an important role in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer.1 One of the targets for the activity of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is cyclo-oxygenase, the enzyme responsible for forming prostaglandins from arachidonic acid.2 At key stages of colorectal carcinogenesis non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs inhibit prostaglandin synthesis, induce apoptosis, and block immunosuppression induced by prostaglandins, all of which help prevent cancer. With the discovery that there are two isoforms of cyclo-oxygenase the ultimate goal of preventive-therapeutic efficacy combined with good tolerability is within reach,3 and researchers are now considering the place of cyclo-oxygenase inhibition, and therefore of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, in breast cancer.

    Cyclo-oxygenase-1, the constitutive isoform, produces prostaglandins such …

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