Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) development is closely associated with inflammation. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is an important mediator of inflammation. Therefore, celecoxib, a selective inhibitor of COX-2, was hailed as a promising chemopreventive agent for HNSCC. Dose-dependent cardiac toxicity limits long-term use of celecoxib, but it seems likely that this may be diminished by lowering its dose. We found that salvianolic acid B (Sal-B), isolated from Salvia miltiorrhiza Bge, can effectively suppress COX-2 expression and induce apoptosis in a variety of cancer cell lines. In this study, we report that combination of Sal-B with low-dose celecoxib results in a more pronounced anticancer effect in HNSCC than either agent alone. The combination effects were assessed in four HNSCC cell lines (JHU-06, JHU-011, JHU-013, and JHU-022) by evaluating cell viability, proliferation, and tumor xenograft growth. Cell viability and proliferation were significantly inhibited by both the combined and single-agent treatments. However, the combination treatment significantly enhanced anticancer efficacy in JHU-013 and JHU-022 cell lines compared with the single treatment regimens. A half-dose of daily Sal-B (40 mg/kg/d) and celecoxib (2.5 mg/kg/d) significantly inhibited JHU-013 xenograft growth relative to mice treated with a full dose of Sal-B or celecoxib alone. The combination was associated with profound inhibition of COX-2 and enhanced induction of apoptosis. Taken together, these results strongly suggest that combination of Sal-B, a multifunctional anticancer agent, with low-dose celecoxib holds potential as a new preventive strategy in targeting inflammatory-associated tumor development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research