Altered expression of the MYCN oncogene modulates MRP gene expression and response to cytotoxic drugs in neuroblastoma cells

Oncogene. 1999 Apr 29;18(17):2777-82. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1202859.


We have recently shown a close correlation between expression of the Multidrug Resistance-associated Protein (MRP) gene and the MYCN oncogene and provided evidence that high MRP expression is a powerful independent predictor of poor outcome in neuroblastoma (Norris et al., New Engl. J. Med., 334, 231-238, 1996). The effect of MYCN down-regulation on MRP expression and response to cytotoxic drugs was investigated in NBL-S neuroblastoma cells transfected with MYCN antisense RNA constructs. Concomitant with MYCN down-regulation, the level of MRP expression was decreased in the NBAS-4 and NBAS-5 antisense transfectants. These cells demonstrated significantly increased sensitivity to the high affinity MRP substrates vincristine, doxorubicin, sodium arsenate and potassium antimony tartrate, but not to the poor MRP substrates, taxol or cisplatin. Similarly, transfection of full-length MYCN cDNA into SH-EP neuroblastoma cells resulted in increased MRP expression and significantly increased resistance specifically to MRP substrates. The results provide evidence for the MYCN oncogene influencing cytotoxic drug response via regulation of MRP gene expression. Our data also provide a link between the malignant and chemoresistant phenotypes of this childhood malignancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology*
  • Genes, MDR*
  • Humans
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • Neuroblastoma / drug therapy*
  • Neuroblastoma / genetics
  • Oncogenes*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins