NSAIDs May Help Slow Basal Cell Carcinoma Development

In mice and human studies, celecoxib found to retard the rate of increase of skin BCCs

FRIDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) celecoxib (Celebrex) effectively inhibits the development of skin basal cell carcinoma (BCC) in highly susceptible patients compared to placebo, according to a study in the January issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

Jean Y. Tang, M.D., of the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute in California, and colleagues first quantified BCCs in mice genetically altered to lack or overexpress the cyclooxygenase enzymes COX1 and COX2, which play a role in carcinogenesis. The researchers then assessed the effect of celecoxib for inhibiting COX2 expression in mice. Finally, in a human study, the researchers randomized 60 subjects with skin BCC to treatment with either 200 mg twice daily oral celecoxib or placebo.

The researchers found that, in mice, genetic deletion of COX1 or COX2 reduced the BCC burden by 75 percent, while NSAID treatment reduced the burden by 35 percent. In the human study overall, subjects on placebo had a 37 percent increased BCC burden per year compared to 26 percent for celecoxib. In patients with less severe disease, those who received placebo had a 50 percent increase in BCC per year compared to a 20 percent increase among those who received celecoxib.

"We have found that NSAID inhibition may indeed have some anti-BCC chemopreventive efficacy, but the potential cardiovascular risks associated with celecoxib would seem to preclude its widespread use. Instead, topical NSAIDs potentially might be effective chemopreventive agents against squamous cell carcinomas and BCCs but with fewer cardiovascular risks," the authors write.

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Jeff Muise

Jeff Muise

Published on January 15, 2010

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