PTGS2 (Cyclooxygenase-2) expression and survival among colorectal cancer patients: A systematic review

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Background: Studies have examined whether tumor expression of PTGS2 (also known as COX-2), an enzyme inhibited by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, is associated with prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer. However, results to date have been mixed. Methods: Using terms for PTGS2 and colorectal cancer, the Medline, Embase, and Web of Science databases were systematically searched for studies published, in any language, until December 2011. Random effects meta-analyses were used to calculate pooled HRs [95% confidence intervals (CI)] for the association between PTGS2 expression and tumor recurrence, colorectal cancer-specific survival, and overall survival. Results: In total, 29 studies, which had prognostic data on 5,648 patients, met the inclusion criteria. PTGS2- positive patients were at an increased risk of tumor recurrence (n = 9 studies; HR, 2.79; 95% CI, 1.76-4.41; P <0.001) and had poorer colorectal cancer-specific survival (n = 7; HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.02-1.82; P = 0.04). However, there was funnel plot asymmetry, possibly due to publication bias, for the association with cancerspecific survival but less so for recurrence. PTGS2 expression was not associated with overall survival [(n= 16; pooled unadjusted HR, 1.30; 95% CI, 0.94-1.79; P=0.11) and (n=9; pooled adjusted HR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.72-1.45; P = 0.91)]. Conclusions: PTGS2 expression was associated with an increased risk of tumor recurrence and poorer colorectal cancer-specific survival but not overall survival among patients with colorectal cancer. However, confounding by tumor characteristics such as tumor stage seems likely. Impact: There is insufficient evidence to recommend PTGS2 expression as a prognostic marker in patients with colorectal cancer. Furthermore, studies providing adjusted results are required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1490-1497
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


  • cancer patient
  • cancer recurrence
  • cancer specific survival
  • colorectal cancer
  • disease free survival
  • human
  • metastasis
  • overall survival
  • priority journal
  • protein expression
  • recurrence free survival
  • review
  • systematic review


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