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      An Evaluation of Cyclooxygenase-2 as a Prognostic Biomarker in Mid-Gut Carcinoid Tumours

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          Background/Aims: Mid-gut carcinoids (MGC) are the most common of the gastrointestinal carcinoid tumours. There is a lack of reliable prognostic indicators for MGC. Cox-2 and Bcl-2 were evaluated as prognostic biomarkers in a cohort of well-characterised non-appendiceal MGC. Methods: Tissue from the primary MGC tumours of 37 patients was subjected to immunohistochemical detection of Cox-2 and Bcl-2. In 9 cases, tissue from secondary lesions was also examined. The study assessed whether tumour-associated Cox-2 and Bcl-2 expression were related to patient survival. Results: Cox-2 expression was demonstrated in 30/36 primary tumours. When all tumours were analysed, Cox regression analysis indicated a trend towards worsening survival with increasing Cox-2 histoscore (intensity × proportion; hazard ratio 1.53, 95% CI 0.93, 2.52; p = 0.09). Analysis of Cox-2-positive tumours revealed a highly significant association between increasing histoscore and decreased survival (hazard ratio 3.03, 95% CI 1.33, 6.91; p = 0.008). Tumour-associated Bcl-2 expression had no effect on patient survival (hazard ratio 1.12, 95% CI 0.42, 2.99; p = 0.82). There was no significant association between Cox-2 and Bcl-2 expression (χ<sup>2</sup> p = 0.16), or Cox-2 histoscore and Bcl-2 expression (MWU p = 0.59). Analysis of the Cox-2 histoscores of primary tumours and their corresponding secondary lesions revealed a statistically significant trend towards increasing histoscore in the latter (Wilcoxon p = 0.04). Conclusions: This study has provided evidence that Cox-2 expression in primary MGC may be associated with a more negative prognostic outlook.

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          Most cited references 11

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          Overexpression of cyclooxygenase-2 is sufficient to induce tumorigenesis in transgenic mice.

          The cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 gene encodes an inducible prostaglandin synthase enzyme that is overexpressed in adenocarcinomas and other tumors. Deletion of the murine Cox-2 gene in Min mice reduced the incidence of intestinal tumors, suggesting that it is required for tumorigenesis. However, it is not known if overexpression of Cox-2 is sufficient to induce tumorigenic transformation. We have derived transgenic mice that overexpress the human COX-2 gene in the mammary glands using the murine mammary tumor virus promoter. The human Cox-2 mRNA and protein are expressed in mammary glands of female transgenic mice and were strongly induced during pregnancy and lactation. Female virgin Cox-2 transgenic mice showed precocious lobuloalveolar differentiation and enhanced expression of the beta-casein gene, which was inhibited by the Cox inhibitor indomethacin. Mammary gland involution was delayed in Cox-2 transgenic mice with a decrease in apoptotic index of mammary epithelial cells. Multiparous but not virgin females exhibited a greatly exaggerated incidence of focal mammary gland hyperplasia, dysplasia, and transformation into metastatic tumors. Cox-2-induced tumor tissue expressed reduced levels of the proapoptotic proteins Bax and Bcl-x(L) and an increase in the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2, suggesting that decreased apoptosis of mammary epithelial cells contributes to tumorigenesis. These data indicate that enhanced Cox-2 expression is sufficient to induce mammary gland tumorigenesis. Therefore, inhibition of Cox-2 may represent a mechanism-based chemopreventive approach for carcinogenesis.
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            Carcinoid tumors: analysis of prognostic factors and survival in 301 patients from a referral center.

            Little is known about factors related to prognosis in patients with carcinoid disease. In this study we have tried to identify such factors. We have evaluated 301 consecutive carcinoid patients (256 midgut, 39 foregut and six hindgut) referred during 15 years for medical treatment with respect to tumor distribution, hormone production, prognostic factors and survival. Survival was significantly shorter in midgut carcinoid patients with > or = 5 liver metastases or with high levels of urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, plasma chromogranin A or neuropeptide K. By univariate analysis, these variables together with the presence of carcinoid syndrome were related to a higher risk of dying. In multivariate analyses, performed in the 71 patients with full information on all variables, advanced age and plasma chromogranin A > 5000 micrograms/l were independent predictors of overall survival. Poor prognostic factors for midgut carcinoid patients were multiple liver metastases, presence of carcinoid syndrome and high levels of the tumor markers studied. In this study the only independent predictors of bad prognosis in midgut, carcinoid patients were advanced age, which however is inherently related to overall survival, and plasma chromogranin A > 5000 micrograms/l. Thus, chromogranin A may prove to be an important prognostic marker for patients with carcinoid tumors.
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              The relationship between cyclooxygenase-2 expression and colorectal cancer.

              Epidemiological studies have implicated the inducible form of cyclooxygenase (COX-2) in the pathogenesis of colorectal cancer; however, its role is not fully understood. To examine the relationship between the expression of COX-2 in human colorectal cancer and patient survival. Patients diagnosed as having colorectal cancer were evaluated and followed up for up to 9.4 years (median follow-up, 2.7 years). Tumor sections were stained for COX-2 using a rabbit polyclonal antibody raised against human COX-2. The extent of COX-2 staining was graded by 2 observers blinded to outcome. Preabsorption of the anti-COX-2 antibody with a COX-2 peptide abolished the staining, demonstrating the specificity of the assay. Gastrointestinal unit of a large general teaching hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Seventy-six patients (median age, 66.5 years) with colorectal cancer (Dukes tumor stage A, n = 9; Dukes B, n = 30; Dukes C, n = 25; Dukes D, n = 12) whose diagnosis was made between 1988 and 1991. Fourteen normal colon biopsies were stained for COX-2 as controls. Survival in years following diagnosis compared by extent of COX-2 epithelial staining (grade 1, or = 50%), Dukes stage, tumor size, and lymph mode metastasis. COX-2 was found in tumor epithelial cells, inflammatory cells, vascular endothelium, and/or fibroblasts. The extent of epithelial staining was heterogeneous, varying markedly among different tumors. Normal tissue adjacent to the tumors also stained weakly for COX-2. No COX-2 was detected in control tissue samples. The Kaplan-Meier survival estimate was 68% in patients who had grade 1 tumor epithelial staining compared with 35% in those with higher grades combined (log-rank chi2 = 5.7; P = .02). Greater expression of COX-2 correlated with more advanced Dukes stage (Kendall tau-b, 0.22; P = .03) and larger tumor size (Kendall tau-b, 0.21; P = .02) and was particularly evident in tumors with lymph node involvement (Kendall tau-b, 0.26; P = .02). Our data indicate that COX-2 expression in colorectal cancer may be related to survival. These data add to the growing epidemiological and experimental evidence that COX-2 may play a role in colorectal tumorigenesis.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                September 2007
                16 August 2007
                : 86
                : 2
                : 104-111
                Department of Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast, Mulhouse Building, RGH, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
                107555 Neuroendocrinology 2007;86:104–111
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 3, References: 26, Pages: 8
                Clinical Neuroendocrinology and Neuroendocrine Tumors


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