Celecoxib inhibits angiogenesis by inducing endothelial cell apoptosis in human pancreatic tumor xenografts

Chandrajit P. Raut, Steffan Nawrocki, Laura M. Lashinger, Darren W. Davis, Sanaz Khanbolooki, Henry Xiong, Lee M. Ellis, David J. McConkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Previous studies suggest that antagonists of cyclooxygenases 1 and 2 (COX-1, -2) inhibit angiogenesis in tumor xenografts, but the molecular mechanisms involved remain unclear. Here we characterized the effects of non-selective (indomethacin) and selective (NS398, celecoxib) cyclooxygenase inhibitors on parameters of angiogenesis in human pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells. COX-1 expression was constitutive in 9/9 pancreatic cancer cell lines, whereas COX-2 and cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) expression were observed in 4/9 cell lines (BxPC3, Capan2, Cfpac1 and L3.6 pl). Production of the COX product, prostaglandin E2, correlated with expression of cPLA2 and COX-2 and was blocked by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, indomethacin or NS398). In contrast to the findings of others, neither indomethacin nor NS398 affected tumor cell secretion of angiogenic factors (VEGF, bFGF, IL-8) at concentrations that produced maximal inhibition of PGE2 production, and higher concentrations increased angiogenic factor production. We also studied the effects of celecoxib in orthotopic L3.6 pl xenografts. Immunofluorescence analysis revealed high-level expression of COX-2 in endothelial cells in L3.6 pl xenografts that increased following therapy with celecoxib, whereas the tumor cells expressed uniformly low levels of COX-2. Celecoxib did not decrease tumor-associated VEGF levels in orthotopic human L3.6 pl xenografts, but the drug did decrease tumor microvessel density (MVD) and increase apoptosis in tumor-associated endothelial cells in a dose-dependent fashion. Together, our results demonstrate that the anti-angiogeneic effects of NSAIDs in human pancreatic cancer cells are exerted via direct effects on endothelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1217-1224
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • bFGF
  • Celecoxib
  • COX-2
  • IL-8
  • VEGF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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