The findings prompted the suspension of Celebrex within the Adenoma Prevention with Celecoxib (APC) Trial, in which participants were to take celecoxib or placebo for three years.
“These data suggest that there may be an increase in cardiovascular risk associated with the use of celecoxib. This information should be viewed in light of other studies of COX-2 inhibitors that have suggested cardiovascular risk,” said Scott Solomon, M.D., lead author of the data analysis study, director of Noninvasive Cardiology at BWH and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The data from this trial was reviewed by additional cardiovascular experts after another COX-2 inhibitor was pulled from the market because of an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events in a similar trial. In the placebo group, 1 percent had a serious cardiovascular event, including one death. In the groups prescribed celecoxib, the rates of cardiovascular event and death increased with the dosage.
“The ability of celecoxib, or another agent that inhibits COX-2, to prevent colorectal cancer is an essential question that remains to be answered,” said Ernest Hawk, MD, MPH and the NCI project officer on the APC Trial. “Cancer is a significant public health burden and the COX enzymes clearly play a role in the development of this disease.”