Epidermal growth factor receptors and cyclooxygenase-2 in the pathogenesis of non-small cell lung cancer: potential targets for chemoprevention and systemic therapy
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The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is part of a family of plasma membrane receptor tyrosine kinases that control many important cellular functions, from growth and proliferation to cell death. Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 is an enzyme which catalyses the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostagladins and thromboxane. It is induced by various inflammatory stimuli, including the pro-inflammatory cytokines, Interleukin (IL)-1beta, Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF)-alpha and IL-2. Both EGFR and COX-2 are over-expressed in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and have been implicated in the early stages of tumourigenesis. This paper considers their roles in the development and progression of lung cancer, their potential interactions, and reviews the recent progress in cancer therapies that are directed toward these targets. An increasing body of evidence suggests that selective inhibitors of both EGFR and COX-2 are potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of NSCLC, in the adjuvant, metastatic and chemopreventative settings.
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