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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2013, Article ID 504230, 17 pages
Review Article

The Proapoptotic Effect of Traditional and Novel Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs in Mammalian and Yeast Cells

Department of Physiology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Malta, Msida MSD 2080, Malta

Received 14 May 2013; Accepted 8 July 2013

Academic Editor: Paula Ludovico

Copyright © 2013 Gianluca Farrugia and Rena Balzan. 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.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have long been used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation. However, mounting evidence shows that NSAIDs, such as aspirin, have very promising antineoplastic properties. The chemopreventive, antiproliferative behaviour of NSAIDs has been associated with both their inactivation of cyclooxygenases (COX) and their ability to induce apoptosis via pathways that are largely COX-independent. In this review, the various proapoptotic pathways induced by traditional and novel NSAIDs such as phospho-NSAIDs, hydrogen sulfide-releasing NSAIDs and nitric oxide-releasing NSAIDs in mammalian cell lines are discussed, as well as the proapoptotic effects of NSAIDs on budding yeast which retains the hallmarks of mammalian apoptosis. The significance of these mechanisms in terms of the role of NSAIDs in effective cancer prevention is considered.