Targeting the COX1/2-Driven thromboxane A2 pathway suppresses Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma development

Tianshun Zhang, Qiushi Wang, Wei Ya Ma, Keke Wang, Xiaoyu Chang, Michele L. Johnson, Ruihua Bai, Ann M. Bode, Nathan R. Foster, Gary W. Falk, Paul J. Limburg, Prasad G. Iyer, Zigang Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Barrett's esophagus (BE), a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), predisposes patients to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Reliable biomarkers for early detection and discovery of potential drug targets are urgently needed for improved BE and EAC patient outcomes. Methods: Patient biopsy samples were evaluated for COX1/2, and thromboxane A2 synthase (TBXAS) expression. Circulating prostaglandins biosynthesis was determined using enzyme immunoassay kits. Anchorage-independent cell growth assay, crystal violet staining assay, and xenograft experiments were conducted to assess BE and EAC cell growth. A surgical mouse model of reflux (i.e., esophagoduodenostomy) was established and samples were analyzed using an enzyme immunoassay kit, immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting, or RT-PCR. Esophageal biopsy samples (pre- and post-intervention) were obtained from a randomized clinical trial in which participants were administered esomeprazole (40 mg) twice daily in combination with an acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) placebo or 81 or 325 mg ASA for 28 days. Esophageal biopsy specimens before and after the intervention period were analyzed. Findings: COX2 and TBXAS are highly expressed in BE and EAC patients accompanied by a pronounced elevation of circulating TXA2 levels. ASA suppressed BE and EAC growth by targeting the TXA2 pathway. Additionally, biopsies from 49 patients (with similar baseline characteristics) showed that ASA substantially decreased serum TXA2 levels, resulting in reduced inflammation. Interpretation: This study establishes the importance of the COX1/2-driven TXA2 pathway in BE and EAC pathophysiology and lays the groundwork for introducing a TXA2-targeting strategy for EAC prevention and early detection. Funding: Hormel Foundation, Exact Sciences, Pentax Medical, Intromedic and National Cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-156
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Acetylsalicylic acid
  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Esophageal adenocarcinoma
  • Thromboxane A2 pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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