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Cyclooxygenase Inhibition and Mechanisms of Colorectal Cancer Prevention

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Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer death throughout the world. The high prevalence and mortality associated with colon cancer make effective prevention and treatment an important public health and economic concern. Among the few agents known to inhibit colorectal tumorigenesis are the nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, as well as newer agents such as celecoxib and rofecoxib. Both epidemiologic studies and investigations with animals show that these compounds possess marked anti-colorectal cancer properties. NSAIDS are widely known to be inhibitors of the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes, and it is thought that the chemopreventive effects of NSAIDs are at least in part due to this ability to inhibit COX. More recent studies, however, have suggested that NSAIDs may also exert anti-cancer effects through mechanisms independent of COX inhibition. COX-dependent and COX-independent mechanisms are not mutually exclusive and it is likely that both are involved in the biological activity of NSAIDs.
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Keywords: apoptosis; arachidonic acid; cancer; chemoprevention; colon; cyclooxygenase; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 1650 Orleans Street, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA.

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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  • Current Cancer Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular drug targets involved in cancer, e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes.
    Each issue of the journal contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in cancer.
    As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for anti-cancer drug discovery continues to grow; this journal has become essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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