Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 plays an important role in tumor cell proliferation, resistance to apoptosis, angiogenesis, and invasion in various malignant tumors. However, the relationships between COX-2 expression and these biological processes, clinicopathological features, and survival rate in patients with renal cell carcinoma are not clear.
Tumor sections surgically removed from 131 patients were examined for COX-2 expression by immunohistochemistry. We also examined Ki-67 labeling index, apoptotic index, microvessel density, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 expression, and correlated COX-2 expression with various clinicopathological features and survival.
Of 131 sections, 70 (53.4%) were positive for COX-2 expression. COX-2 expression was associated significantly with various clinicopathological features, and correlated with the Ki-67 labeling index, microvessel density, and MMP-2 expression (P < 0.01), but not with the apoptotic index (P = 0.054). COX-2 expression was also identified as an independent risk factor for large tumor size (>7 cm) in multivariate logistic regression model. COX proportional hazards analysis showed that distant metastasis and high T stage were independent prognostic factors [odds ratio (OR), 9.41; 95% confidence interval (CI), 2.16-41.11; P < 0.01 and OR, 5.19; 95% CI, 1.02-26.54; P = 0.048, respectively), whereas COX-2 expression was not (OR, 1.46; 95% CI, 0.24-9.00; P = 0.68).
COX-2 expression in patients with renal cell carcinoma is associated with several clinicopathological factors, and appeared to play an important role in tumor cell proliferation and MMP-2 expression, but is not a significant prognostic factor.