Role of COX-2, VEGF and cyclin D1 in mammary infiltrating duct carcinoma
Published online on: September 1, 2003
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Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) has an important role in the promotion of carcinogenesis, tumor invasion and angiogenesis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a proangiogenic factor that is up-regulated in various tumors. VEGF has been shown to interact with COX-derived prostaglandins in angiogenesis. Cyclin D1 gene overexpression and amplification have been shown to play a role as prognostic factors in many human cancers. To better understand the roles of these genes in mammary carcinoma, the immunohistochemical expression patterns of COX-2 and VEGF were evaluated in relationship with cyclin D1 overexpression, tumor stage, clinicopathologic parameters and patient survival in 128 mammary infiltrating duct carcinomas. The expressions of COX-2/VEGF, COX-2/cyclin D1, and VEGF/cyclin D1 were evaluated using double immunofluorescein staining with a confocal scanning laser microscope. A positive expression was seen in 41% for COX-2, 47% for VEGF, and 66% for cyclin D1 in the cases with breast cancer. There was correlation in positive expression of COX-2 or VEGF with histologic grade, lymph node metastasis, and tumor size. Conversely, a significant inverse relation was observed between VEGF and patient age. There was a correlation in overexpression of cyclin D1 with lymph node metastasis, survival rate and survival length. Significant correlations were observed between COX-2 and VEGF as well as COX-2 and cyclin D1. Co-expression of only COX-2 and VEGF was detected with significance. These results indicate that elevated COX-2 or VEGF expression or cyclin D1 overexpression is more common in breast cancer patients with poor prognostic characteristics and is partly associated with an unfavorable outcome. The present findings support the efforts to initiate clinical trials on the efficacy of COX-2 inhibitors in adjuvant treatment of breast cancer.