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ABSTRACT Cyclooxygenase (COX)-1- and COX-2-deficient mice have unique physiological differences that have allowed investigation into the individual biological roles of the COX isoforms. In the following, the phenotypes of the two COX knockout mice are summarized, and recent studies to investigate the effects of COX deficiency on inflammatory responses and cancer susceptibility are discussed. The data suggest that both isoforms have important roles in the maintenance of physiological homeostasis and that such designations as housekeeping and/or response gene may not be entirely accurate. Furthermore, data from COX-deficient mice indicate that both isoforms can contribute to the inflammatory response and that both isoforms have significant roles in carcino-genesis.