Cyclooxygenase-2 expression during immortalization and breast cancer progression

Xiangshan Zhao, Monica Goswami, Nidhi Pokhriyal, Hui Ma, Hongyan Du, Jun Yao, Thomas A. Victor, Kornelia Polyak, Charles D. Sturgis, Hamid Band, Vimla Band

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Identification of molecular aberrations in premalignant human mammary epithelial cells (hMEC), the precursors for breast cancers, is a central goal in breast cancer biology. Recent studies implicated expression of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) as a marker to identify precursor cells for breast cancer. In this study, we analyzed COX-2 expression in preselection and postselection hMEC cells and observed similar COX-2 levels in both cells. Interestingly, immortalization of postselection cells using various methods leads to a dramatic decrease in COX-2 expression. Similar to immortal cells, the majority of breast cancer cell lines expressed low levels of COX-2 protein. Finally, analyses of COX-2 expression in a series of specimens from reduction mammoplasty, adenosis, ductal carcinoma in situ, and infiltrating ductal carcinoma showed down-regulation of COX-2 expression during tumor progression. Importantly, down-regulation of COX-2 using small interfering RNA in cells showed no effect on cell proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, migration, or invasion. These results show that (a) COX-2 overexpression does not seem to predict a breast cancer precursor cell and does not provide advantage for the cell to be transformed; (b) inhibition of COX-2 does not affect hMEC growth and oncogenic behavior in the conditions analyzed; and (c) COX-2 expression is decreased in breast cancer cell lines and cancer specimens as compared with normal mammary epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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