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Blocking COX-1 slows tumor growth in mice

Blocking the COX-1 enzyme not COX-2 might lead to a way to prevent and treat the most common and fatal form of ovarian cancer, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center reported this week.

The finding, that COX-1 inhibition slowed the growth of epithelial ovarian tumors in a mouse model of the disease, is surprising, said Sudhansu K. Dey, Ph.D., senior author of the paper and director of the Division of Reproductive and Developmental Biology in the Vanderbilt Department of Pediatrics.

Previous studies have linked high levels of another cyclooxygenase enzyme, COX-2, to colorectal and other cancers. "But this is the exception," said Dey, also professor of Cell & Developmental Biology and Pharmacology.

"These results establish the foundation for further studies and clinical trials using the novel approach of targeting COX-1 for the prevention and treatment of ovarian cancer," the researchers concluded.

Dey said further studies should be conducted to determine whether aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which block both COX enzymes, might improve treatment of epithelial ovarian cancer.

The study, posted Sunday on the Web site of the journal Cancer Research, was led by Takiko Daikoku, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 22,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, and more than 16,000 will die from the disease. Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in American women after lung, breast and colorectal cancer.

Eighty-five percent of human ovarian tumors arise from the epithelium or surface layer of tissue that surrounds the ovaries. While the incidence of ovarian cancer has declined recently, the death rate has not, in part because it is difficult to diagnose the disease in the early stages.

Several previous studies have reported high COX-2 levels in ovari
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Contact: Clinton Colmenares
clinton.colmenares@vanderbilt.edu
615-322-4747
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
1-May-2005


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