Inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 enhances immunotherapy against experimental brain tumors.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Glioblastoma multiforme is the most common and aggressive malignant brain tumor in humans, and the prognosis is very poor despite conventional therapy. Immunotherapy represents a novel treatment approach, but the effect is often weakened by release of immune-suppressive molecules such as prostaglandins. In the current study, we investigated the effect of immunotherapy with irradiated interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-secreting tumor cells and administration of the selective cyclooxygease-2 (COX-2) inhibitor parecoxib as treatment of established rat brain tumors. COX-2 inhibition and immunotherapy significantly enhanced the long-term cure rate (81% survival) compared with immunotherapy alone (19% survival), and there was a significant increase in plasma IFN-γ levels in animals treated with the combined therapy, suggesting a systemic T helper 1 immune response. COX-2 inhibition alone, however, did neither induce cure nor prolonged survival. The tumor cells were identified as the major source of COX-2 both in vivo and in vitro, and unmodified tumor cells produced prostaglandin E(2) in vitro, while the IFN-γ expressing tumor cells secreted significantly lower levels. In conclusion, we show that immunotherapy of experimental brain tumors is greatly potentiated when combined with COX-2 inhibition. Based on our results, the clinically available drug parecoxib may be added to immunotherapy against human brain tumors. Furthermore, the discovery that IFN-γ plasma levels can be used to determine the ongoing in vivo immune response has translational potential.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cancer and Oncology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1191-1199
JournalCancer immunology, immunotherapy : CII
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch

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Eberstål, S., 2012, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University. 71 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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