Esophageal COX-2 Expression Is Increased in Barrett’s Esophagus, Obesity, and Smoking

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Digestive Diseases and Sciences








Barrett’s esophagus; COX-2; Epidemiology; Obesity; Smoking; Veterans affairs


© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York (Outside the USA). Background: Increased esophageal cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression has been associated with Barrett’s esophagus (BE); however, it is unknown whether COX-2 expression varies among patient groups with different clinical or socio-demographic factors.Methods: We conducted a case–control study among eligible patients scheduled for elective esophagogastroduodenoscopy and patients eligible for screening colonoscopy recruited from primary clinics. We compared 39 BE tissue samples and 47 squamous tissue samples from BE cases and 240 squamous tissue samples from controls. Clinical and socio-demographic data were prospectively collected. Immunohistochemical staining for esophageal COX-2 was performed and scored.Results: The median COX-2 score was significantly higher in BE tissue than squamous tissue from cases or controls (p < 0.001). Median COX-2 expression levels were higher in tissue samples from participants with a waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) in the 2nd tertile [unadjusted odds ratio (OR) 2.04; 95 % confidence interval (95 % CI) 1.17–3.57] and 3rd tertile (unadjusted OR 2.24; 95 % CI 1.20–4.16) compared with the 1st tertile and from current smokers compared with former or non-smokers (unadjusted OR 1.68; 95 % CI 1.03–2.75). In the multivariate analysis, WHRs in the 2nd tertile (OR 1.92; 95 % CI 1.07–3.45) and the 3rd tertile (OR 2.14; 95 % CI 1.10–4.16) were associated with high COX-2 compared with the 1st tertile, as was current smoking (OR 1.78; 95 % CI 1.06–2.97) compared with former and non-smoking.Conclusion: We found a significant association between elevated esophageal mucosa COX-2 levels and the presence of BE tissue, as well as between elevated COX-2 levels and high WHR and current tobacco smoking. This information may assist in identifying patients likely to benefit from chemoprevention with COX-2 inhibitors.

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