Horm Metab Res 2009; 41(4): 314-319
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1102944
Humans, Clinical

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

COX-2 Expression in Highly Aggressive Thyroid Malignancies – Indication for a Possible Therapeutic Option?

S-Y. Sheu 1 , F. Grabellus 1 , S. Schwertheim 1 , K. Mann 2 [*] , C. Ensinger 3 , D. Öfner 4 , M. Bockhorn 5 , D. Fuhrer 6 , K. W. Schmid 1 [*]
  • 1Institute of Pathology and Neuropathology, University Hospital of Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
  • 2Department of Endocrinology and Division of Laboratory Research, University Hospital of Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
  • 3Pathological Institute, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 4Clinic of Visceral Surgery, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 5Department of General Surgery, University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf, Hamburg
  • 6Department of Endocrinology, University Hospital of Leipzig, University of Leipzig, Germany
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received 26.09.2008

accepted 16.10.2008

01. Dezember 2008 (online)


Both anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) and angiosarcoma of the thyroid (AST) are highly aggressive malignancies with very limited therapeutic options. Since selective inhibition of COX-2, for example, by celecoxib has been shown to suppress both tumour formation and progression, we investigated COX-2 protein expression in a series of ATC and AST (26 cases each) using immunohistochemistry. COX-2 expression was demonstrated in 13 ATC (50%) and 11 AST (42%); a strong COX-2 expression in more than 50% of vital tumour cells was found in 5 ATC and 5 AST, respectively. Although a recently performed phase II trial applying celecoxib failed overall to halt tumour progression in differentiated thyroid carcinoma, the two cases with partial or complete remission noted in this study were related to tumours with immunohistochemically proven strong COX-2 expression. The strong COX-2 expression observed in approximately 20% of our ATC and AST samples may thus indicate selective patients with a possible therapeutic option for an otherwise fatal disease.


1 Member of the West German Cancer Centre Essen (WTZE).


K. W. Schmid, MD, MRCPath 

Institute of Pathology and Neuropathology

University Hospital of Essen

University of Duisburg-Essen

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