Evidence for colorectal cancer cell specificity of aspirin effects on NF kappa B signalling and apoptosis

F V N Din, M G Dunlop, L A Stark

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Epidemiological evidence indicates that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) protect against colorectal cancer (CRC) to a greater degree than other non-gastrointestinal cancers, but the molecular basis for this difference is unknown. We previously reported that aspirin induces signal-specific I kappa B alpha degradation followed by NF kappa B nuclear translocation in CRC cells, and that this mechanism contributes substantially to aspirin-induced apoptosis. Here, we explored the hypothesis that cell-type specific effects on NF kappa B signalling are responsible for the observed differences in protection by aspirin against CRC compared to breast and gynaecological cancers. We also assessed whether COX-2 expression, mutation status of adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), beta-catenin, p53, or DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes in CRC lines influenced aspirin-induced effects. We found that aspirin induced concentration-dependent I kappa B alpha degradation, NF kappa B nuclear translocation and apoptosis in all CRC lines studied. However, there was no such effect on the other cancer cell types, indicating a considerable degree of cell-type specificity. The lack of effect on NF kappa B signalling, paralleled by absence of an apoptotic response to aspirin in non-CRC lines, strongly suggests a molecular rationale for the particular protective effect of NSAIDs against CRC. Effects on NF kappa B and apoptosis were observed irrespective of COX-2 expression, or mutation status in APC, beta-catenin, p53 and DNA MMR genes, underscoring the generality of the aspirin effect on NF kappa B in CRC cells. These findings raise the possibility of cell-type specific targets for the development of novel chemopreventive agents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-8
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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