The anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib may be a useful additional treatment for people with breast cancer, Dutch researchers reported.
The results of a randomized trial in 45 patients with primary invasive breast cancer showed that the drug-which is currently used to treat arthritis and other painful conditions-clearly induced an anti-tumor response at the molecular level.
"This is exciting because it means that a medication already used to treat other diseases may be efficient in the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer as well," said lead researcher Juergen Veeck, from Maastricht University Medical Centre in The Netherlands.
Celecoxib is a member of a class of drugs known as selective COX-2 inhibitors. These drugs directly target COX-2, an enzyme responsible for inflammation and pain.
"We were pleased that the results from our clinical trial largely confirmed the existing data from several pre-clinical studies by showing that COX-2 inhibition leads to changes in cell proliferation, apoptosis, and extracellular matrix biology in primary breast cancer tissues," added Veeck.
The study has been reported at the IMPAKT Breast Cancer Conference in Brussels.