PURPOSE: Patients with a malignant glioma have a very poor prognosis. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) protein is regularly upregulated in gliomas and might be a potential therapeutic target. The effects of three selective COX-2 inhibitors were studied on three human glioma cell lines.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The selective COX-2 inhibitors NS-398, Celecoxib and Meloxicam and three human glioma cell lines (D384, U251 and U87) were used. Cell growth was assessed by a proliferation assay, the interaction with radiation (0 - 6 Gy) was studied using the clonogenic assay and cell cycle distribution was determined by FACS (fluorescence-activated cell sorting) analysis.
RESULTS: All COX-2 inhibitors reduced proliferation of the glioma cell lines irrespective of their COX-2 expression level. Incubation with 200 microM NS-398 24 h before radiation enhanced radiation-induced cell death of D384 cells and 750 microM Meloxicam resulted in radiosensitization of D384 and U87 cells. No radiosensitization was observed with COX-2 inhibitor administration after radiotherapy. Treatment of D384 with NS-398 (200 microM) or Celecoxib (50 microM) and U87 with NS-398 (200 microM) after radiation resulted even in radioprotection.
CONCLUSIONS: Effectiveness of COX-2 inhibitors on cell proliferation and radio-enhancement was independent of COX-2 protein expression. The sequence of COX-2 inhibitor addition and irradiation is very important.