CLX (celecoxib), a selective COX-2 (cyclo-oxygenase-2) inhibitor, has numerous pleiotropic effects on the body that may be independent of its COX-2 inhibitory activity. The cancer chemopreventive ability of CLX, particularly in CRC (colorectal cancer), has been shown in epidemiological studies. Here we have, for the first time, examined the biophysical effects of CLX on the cellular membranes of COX-2 expressing (HT29) and COX-2 non-expressing (SW620) cell lines using ATR-FTIR (attenuated total reflectance–Fourier transform IR) spectroscopy and SL-ESR (spin label–ESR) spectroscopy. Our results show that CLX treatment decreased lipid fluidity in the cancer cell lines irrespective of COX-2 expression status. As metastatic cells have higher membrane fluidity, we examined the effect of CLX on the metastatic potential of these cells. The CLX treatment efficiently decreased the proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, ability to close a scratch wound and migration and invasion of the CRC cell lines through Matrigel. We propose that one of the ways by which CLX exerts its anti-tumorigenic effects is via alterations in cellular membrane fluidity which has a notable impact on the cells' metastatic potential.

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