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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Expression and Molecular Regulation of the Cox2 Gene in Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors and Antiproliferation of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Feng Gao, Mohammad Ishraq Zafar, Stefan Jüttner, Michael Höcker, Bertram Wiedenmann

Department of Endocrinology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24: LBR8125-8140

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.912419

Available online:

Published: 2018-11-13


BACKGROUND: Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) has had a significant increase over the past 4 decades. The pathophysiological role of the cyclooxygenase-2 (cox-2) gene and factors responsible for the expression in GEP-NETs is of clinical value. Current study determined the expression of cox-2 gene in human GEP-NET tissues and corresponding cell lines, investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of cox-2 gene expression and assessed the effect of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on both anchorage-dependent and independent growth of GEP-NET cells.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: GEP-NET tissues and QGP-1, BON, and LCC-18 GEP-NET cell lines were used. The expression of cox-2 gene was analyzed by immunohistochemistry, western blot, RT-PCR, and enzyme immunoassay. Transient transfection and luciferase assays along with electrophoretic mobility shift assays were conducted to explore the regulation of cox-2 gene expression. The effect of COX-inhibitors on GEP-NET cell growth was determined by proliferation assays and colony growth assessment.
RESULTS: We found 87.8% of GEP-NET tissues stained positive for COX-2. QGP-1 and LCC-18 cells expressed cox-2 gene. PGE2 (prostaglandin E2) amounts quantified in the supernatants of NET cells matched to cox-2 expression level. The CRE-E-box element (–56 to –48 bp) and binding of USF1, USF2, and CREB transcription factors to this proximal promoter element were essential for cox-2 promoter activity in GEP-NET cells. COX-2-specific inhibitor NS-398 potently and dose-dependently inhibited PGE2 release from QGP-1 cells. Interestingly, both NS-398 and acetylic salicylic acid effectively suppressed proliferation of QGP-1 and BON cells in a dose-dependent manner.
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of GEP-NETs over express cox-2 gene. The binding of CREB and USF-1/-2 transcription factors to a proximal, overlapping CRE-Ebox element is the underlying mechanism for cox-2 gene expression. NSAIDs potently suppressed the proliferations and may offer a novel approach for chemoprevention and therapy of GEP-NETs.

Keywords: Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal, Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors, neuroendocrine tumors