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Suppressing growth and invasion of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells by celecoxib through inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2

Authors Tai Y, Zhang LH, Gao JH, Zhao C, Tong H, Ye C, Huang ZY, Liu R, Tang CW

Received 10 August 2018

Accepted for publication 23 January 2019

Published 9 April 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 2831—2848


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Beicheng Sun

Yang Tai,1,* Lin-Hao Zhang,1,* Jin-Hang Gao,1,2 Chong Zhao,2 Huan Tong,1 Cheng Ye,1 Zhi-Yin Huang,1 Rui Liu,2 Cheng-Wei Tang1,2

1Laboratory of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Gastroenterology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: Biomarkers are lacking in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and its metabolites play crucial roles in the process of inflammation-tumor transformation. This study was aimed to detect COX-2 expression in HCC tissues and evaluate the effects of a COX-2 inhibitor, celecoxib, on biological behaviors of HCC cell lines in vitro.
Methods: COX-2 expression was detected by immunohistochemistry on a human HCC tissue microarray. The correlations of COX-2 expression with tumor clinicopathological variables and overall survival were analyzed. The proliferation, apoptosis, cell cycle distribution, invasion capacity, and related signaling molecules of HCC cells after incubated with COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib were evaluated in vitro.
Results: Expression levels of COX-2 in HCC tissues were significantly higher than those in paracancerous tissues. The TNM stage III-IV, tumor size >5 cm, lymphovascular invasion and distant metastasis was higher in high COX-2 expression group compared with that in low COX-2 expression group. Patients with low COX-2 expression achieved better 5-year overall survival than those with high COX-2 expression. Treatment with celecoxib was sufficient to inhibit cell proliferation, promote apoptosis, and induce G0/G1 cell cycle arrest in HCC cells with concentration- and time-dependent manners. Celecoxib up-regulated E-cadherin protein through inhibiting COX-2-prostaglandin E2 (PGE2)-PGE2 receptor 2 (EP2)-p-Akt/p-ERK signaling pathway to suppress HCC cells migration and invasion.
Conclusion: High COX-2 expression was associated with advanced TNM stage, larger tumor size, increased lymphovascular invasion and short survival. Targeting inhibition of COX-2 by celecoxib exhibited anti-tumor activities by suppressing proliferation, promoting apoptosis, and inhibiting the aggressive properties of HCC cells.

Keywords: cyclooxygenase-2, hepatocellular carcinoma, celecoxib, survival

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