Celebrex – a widely prescribed pain killer for people with arthritis – is in the limelight recently because it has been found to reduce the levels of lung cancer biomarkers.
CELEBREX is an NSAID that relieves arthritis pain, stiffness, and inflammation. For many people, just one 200-mg dose provides 24-hour relief. CELEBREX has never been taken off the market; on average, more than 1 million prescriptions are filled for CELEBREX each month.
During the ASCO Annual Meeting on Sunday, researchers reported that Celebrex may reduce levels of a biomarker indicating risk for lung cancer.
According to Dr. Shakun Malik, director of the lung cancer program at Georgetown’s Lombardi Cancer Center, in Washington, D.C.:
“This is a very early study. It hasn’t shown any effect on actual lung cancer. All it is showing is that it affects biomarkers. The hypothesis is that if biomarkers are affected, it will help, but we haven’t shown that as of yet.”
Yes indeed, maybe too early to tell whether Celebrex will be beneficial in lung cancer, but at least it is good to know the effects of an NSAID and COX-2 inhbitor to lung cancer biomarkers. Maybe if the mechanism are interrelated, then perhaps arthritis research can learn from cancer research in its quest for better arthritis drugs.
The cox-2 enzyme is expressed in both precancerous lesions in lung tissue, as well as in lung cancer, and it has an inflammatory aspect that can stimulate more cell growth within the lung.
This study involved more than 200 patients, all of whom had a history (current or prior) of a greater than 20-pack-years cigarette habit. All participants underwent biopsies at the opening of the study, at three months and again at six months.
They were then randomized to take either Celebrex or a placebo for three months, after which they either continued on that course or switched to the other arm.
Over three months, high-dose Celebrex (400 milligrams twice a day) did reduce expression levels of Ki-67, as well as the cox-2 enzyme and a third biomarker, NF-kappa-B.
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