Clinical and immunomodulatory effects of celecoxib plus interferon-alpha in metastatic renal cell carcinoma patients with COX-2 tumor immunostaining - Abstract

Department of Solid Tumor Oncology, Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, 9500 Euclid Ave. / Desk R35, Cleveland, OH, 44195, USA.


Cycloxygenase-2 (COX-2) is an enzyme involved in prostaglandin E2 (PGE(2)) synthesis associated with higher renal cell carcinoma stage. COX-2 inhibition enhances interferon (IFN-α) anti-tumor immune effects in pre-clinical models. A phase II trial of celecoxib and IFN-α in a targeted population of metastatic renal cell carcinoma patients with maximal COX-2 expression was conducted.

Cytokine-naive metastatic renal cell carcinoma patients with tumors expressing ≥10% maximal COX-2 staining by immunohistochemistry received IFN-α 5 million units daily and celecoxib 400 mg orally twice daily in an open-label, single-arm phase II trial.

There were 3 partial responses among 17 patients (objective response rate 18%; 95% confidence interval, 4-43%). Time to progression was 5.6 months. Increased tumor staining 3+ for COX-2 was associated with increased baseline peripheral blood PGE(2) levels, and these patients demonstrated less PGE(2) decrease with therapy. Patients with more 3+ COX-2 staining had significantly more CD3(+) (p = 0.004) and CD4(+) (p = 0.002) IFN-γ T cells at baseline and a significantly greater decrease in these cells with therapy.

Celecoxib plus IFN-α in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients with maximally staining COX-2 tumors does not significantly enhance overall response rates over IFN monotherapy.

COX-2-expressing RCC demonstrates inherent immunosuppression. COX-2 inhibition with IFN results in minimal immunomodulation and no augmented clinical activity in RCC.

Written by:
Schwandt A, Garcia JA, Elson P, Wyckhouse J, Finke JH, Ireland J, Triozzi P, Zhou M, Dreicer R, Rini BI.   Are you the author?

Reference: J Clin Immunol. 2011 Apr 13. Epub ahead of print.

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 21487892 Renal Cancer Section