The inflammatory enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) has earned a reputation as an agent provocateur in rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers in Finland now report that Cox-2 also shows up frequently in a common form of stomach cancer.
The work adds this malignancy to a list of tumors with a Cox-2 affiliation. These include cancers of the colon, pancreas, breast, lung, liver, and prostate. Some researchers suggest that aspirin's inhibition of Cox-2 may explain why it seems to defend against colon cancer. Others have found evidence suggesting that aspirin or other Cox-2 suppressors can inhibit breast and prostate cancers, as well.
Researchers have shown that, on the biochemical level, Cox-2 chemically alters prostaglandin, a hormonelike compound that stimulates inflammation and cell proliferation.