Objective—To evaluate expression of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and COX-2 in the cornea, eyelid, and third eyelid of healthy horses and those affected with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by use of immunohistochemical techniques.
Animals—15 horses with SCC involving ocular tissues and 5 unaffected control horses.
Procedures—SCC-affected tissues were obtained from the cornea (n = 5 horses), eyelid (5), and third eyelid (5). Site-matched control tissues were obtained from 5 horses unaffected with SCC. Tissue sections of affected and control cornea, eyelid, and third eyelid were stained immunohistochemically for COX-1 and COX-2 via standard techniques. Stain uptake was quantified by use of computer-assisted image analysis of digital photomicrographs.
Results—Immunoreactivity for both COX-1 and COX-2 was significantly greater in equine corneas with SCC than in control corneas. No significant differences in COX-1 or COX-2 immunoreactivity were detected in eyelid and third-eyelid SCC, compared with site-matched control tissues.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Immunoreactivity for COX-1 and COX-2 is high in equine corneal SCC, possibly indicating that COX plays a role in oncogenesis or progression of this tumor type at this site. Pharmacologic inhibition of COX may represent a useful adjunctive treatment for corneal SCC in horses.