Reversal of gene expression changes in the colorectal normal-adenoma pathway by NS398 selective COX2 inhibitor
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have shown cancer preventive activity in patients who took them frequently. These drugs can induce tumor cells to undergo apoptosis in vitro. NS398, a cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)-selective inhibitor, has been reported to cause apoptosis in cancer cell lines. Therefore, we examined its effect on 15 human colon cancer cell lines and investigated its mechanism of action. NS398 decreased cell viability in all of the cell lines. Tumor cells that expressed COX-2 were shown to be more sensitive to NS398 treatment. In three selected colon cancer cell lines, NS398-induced apoptosis was mediated by the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria and, consequently, by the activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3 and by the cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. In contrast, caspase-8 was not involved in NS398-induced apoptosis, which suggested that the cytochrome c pathway may play an important role in NS398-induced apoptosis in colon cancer cell lines. Therefore, the combination of NS398 with apoptosis-inducing drugs through cytochrome c-independent pathways may be warranted.