How is celecoxib (Celebrex) used to prevent colon cancer?

Updated: Apr 15, 2020
  • Author: Tomislav Dragovich, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Answer

Celecoxib (Celebrex), a selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, was first tested in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). Celecoxib was effective in decreasing the number and size of polyps on serial colonoscopies, which was the primary surrogate endpoint for this trial. [145] The drug was approved for FAP patients, although it remains to be seen whether this intervention translates to reduced cancer incidence and prolonged survival.

Enthusiasm for cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors as chemopreventive agents has dampened because of a high incidence of cardiovascular toxicity in trial patients, which led to the removal of rofecoxib from the market. Other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as sulindac and nonselective cyclooxygenase inhibitors, have been tested in lower-risk populations.


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