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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 828045, 11 pages
Review Article

RNAi-Based Strategies for Cyclooxygenase-2 Inhibition in Cancer

Department of Experimental Biology, University of Bologna, Via Selmi 3, 40126 Bologna, Italy

Received 12 October 2009; Revised 18 March 2010; Accepted 8 April 2010

Academic Editor: Chung-Liang Chien

Copyright © 2010 Antonio Strillacci et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme has been involved in the tumorigenesis and in the progression of colorectal cancer (CRC). The use of traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or selective COX-2 inhibitors has been proposed for the prevention and the treatment of this relevant neoplastic disease. In the light of an innovative alternative to these pharmacological approaches, we review here the possible strategies to achieve a strong and selective inhibition of COX-2 enzyme by using the mechanism of RNA Interference (RNAi) targeted against its mRNA. Anti-COX-2 siRNA molecules (siCOX-2) can be generated in CRC cells from short hairpin RNA (shRNA) precursors, delivered in vitro by a retroviral expression system, and induce a significant and stable silencing of overexpressed COX-2 in human colon cancer cells. As a safer alternative to viral approach, nonpathogenic bacteria (E. coli) can be engineered to invade eukaryotic cells and to generate siCOX-2 molecules in cancer cells. Moreover, the involvement of miRNAs in COX-2 posttranscriptional regulation opens up the possibility to exploit an endogenous silencing mechanism to knockdown overexpressed COX-2. Thus, these recent strategies disclose new challenging perspectives for the development of clinically compatible siRNA or miRNA capable of selectively inhibiting COX-2 enzyme.