Effect of COX-2 and EGFR Suppression on Molecular Markers of Angiogenesis and Proliferation in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Oral Cavity - Prospective Randomized Study (ERLO-XIB)


Tata Memorial Hospital

Status and phase

Active, not recruiting
Phase 2


Tongue Cancers
Head and Neck Cancers
Carcinoma of Buccal Mucosa
Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma


Other: Arm 4
Drug: Arm1
Drug: Arm 3
Drug: Arm 2

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


This is a phase II randomized clinical trial to study the effect of COX-2 inhibitor Celecoxib and EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor Erlotinib alone or in combination on molecular markers of apoptosis and angiogenesis.

Full description

Activation of EGFR signalling can lead to increased transcription of COX-2. Increased COX-2 transcription results in enhanced production of PGs, including PGE2, which in turn can activate EGFR initiating a positive feedback loop. Although majority of HNSCC over-express EGFR, the clinical responses to EGFR targeting agents have been modest. When the mechanisms of intrinsic resistance are identified like the mutations in the EGFR receptor, alternative therapeutic approaches should be employed. In preclinical studies, combining an inhibitor of COX-2 with an inhibitor of EGFR tyrosine kinase was more effective than either agent alone in suppressing tumor formation. Acquired resistances that may be amenable to pharmacological intervention include deregulation of EGFR degradation, constitutive activation of overlapping signal transduction pathways, especially cMET/HER3, the PI3K/Akt resistance pathway, angiogenesis and epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Preclinical data suggest that COX-2 inhibitors can affect most of the described acquired EGFR resistance pathways. We propose a prospective phase II randomized trial based on a 2 X 2 factorial design in which patients are randomized to COX-2 inhibition vs. no COX-2 inhibition. Each arm will be further randomized to erlotinib vs. no erlotinib. This results in the following treatment combinations. Arm 1: Celecoxib 200mg twice daily Arm 2: Celecoxib 200mg twice daily + Erlotinib 150mg daily Arm 3: Erlotinib 150mg alone Arm 4: Control group with no drug Patients in the drug treatment arm will receive the prescribed drug for 21 days before the tumor being surgically resected. Having a control group is ethically justifiable because the average waiting time in our hospital prior to definitive treatment is 30 days after diagnosis. The study population consists of any patients with resectable oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma seen at Tata memorial hospital. Tumor size will be estimated by MRI Scans as well as by clinical examination before and after completion of the study drugs.


64 patients




18 to 75 years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

1. All patients with squamous cell carcinoma of oral cavity (T2-T4, N1-2, M0) and are candidates for first line curative surgical treatment and are able to swallow orally, preoperatively. 2. Patients must be at least 18 years of age. 3. All patients must sign an informed consent before enrolling in study. 4. Patients must be able and willing to return to the clinic at appropriately scheduled intervals. 5. No use of systemic steroids or topical oral steroid preparations within three months. (Topical nasal steroid sprays or cutaneous preparations with minimal systemic absorption for nasal or dermatologic disorders are allowed). 6. Premenopausal women must be using adequate birth control methods and have a negative pregnancy test prior to entry. 7. Karnofsky Performance Score above 80. 8. The subject is willing and able to fully participate for the duration of the study. 9. If applicable, the subject has been counseled on smoking cessation. 10. The subject meets the following laboratory eligibility criteria during a time not to exceed 4 weeks prior to randomization. 11. Hemoglobin level above 10gm/dl, the lower limit of normal. 12. WBC count \> 3,000 mm3. 13. Platelets count \> 100,000 m3. 14. Total bilirubin, AST (Aspartate Aminotransferase) and ALT (Alanine transaminase) ≤ 2 x ULN. 15. Serum creatinine ≤ 2 x Upper limit of Normal (ULN)

Exclusion criteria

1. History of cardiovascular co morbidities 2. Patients with previous history of head and neck cancers 3. Recent massive gastrointestinal hemorrhage 4. An on-going unmanaged serious infectious disease or major metabolic disorder 5. Neutrophil count of \<1 x 109 per liter or platelet count of \< 75 x 109 per liter at study entry, 6. Bilirubin at \>1.5-fold above the upper limit of normal, and 7. Kidney failure (Glomerular filtration rate of \<40 mL/min). 8. Pregnant women 9. Use other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids within 2 weeks prior to initial clinical evaluation 10. The subject is, in the opinion of the Institutional Principal Investigator, not an appropriate candidate for study participation. -

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Factorial Assignment


None (Open label)

64 participants in 4 patient groups

Arm 1
Experimental group
Celecoxib 200mg twice daily for 21 days
Drug: Arm1
Arm 2
Experimental group
Erlotinib 150 mg once daily for 21 days
Drug: Arm 2
Arm 3
Experimental group
Celecoxib 200 mg twice daily for 21 days and Erlotinib 150 mg once daily for 21 days
Drug: Arm 3
Arm 4
Sham Comparator group
Control group with no drug
Other: Arm 4

Trial contacts and locations



Data sourced from clinicaltrials.gov

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