Cyclooxygenase-2 as a Molecular Target for Cancer Chemopreventive Agents

  • Published : 2001.07.01


Recently, considerable attention has been focused on the role of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in the carcinogenesis as well as in inflammation. Improperly overexpressed COX-2 has been observed in many types of human cancers and transformed cells in culture. Thus, it is conceivable that targeted inhibition of abnormally or improperly up-regulated COX-2 provides one of the most effective and promising strategies for cancer prevention. A ubiquitous eukaryotic transcription factor, NF-kB is considered to be involved in regulation of COX-2 expression. Furthermore, extracellular-regulated protein kinase and p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase appear to be key elements of the intracellular signaling cascades involved in NF-kB activation in response to a wide array of external stimuli. Certain chemopreventive phytochemicals suppress activation of NF-kB by blocking one or more of the MAP kinases, which may contribute to their inhibitory effects on COX-2 induction. One of the plausible mechanisms by which chemopreventive phytochemicals inhibit NF-kB activation involves suppression of degradation of the inhibitory unit I kB, which hampers subsequent translocation of p65, the functionally active subunit of NF-kB.