Changes in lipid and protein constituents of rafts and caveolae in multidrug resistant cancer cells and their functional consequences

Glycoconj J. Mar-Apr 2000;17(3 -4):253-9. doi: 10.1023/a:1026553626537.


The carcinogenic process involves a complex series of genetic and biochemical changes that enables transformed cells to proliferate, migrate to secondary sites and, in some cases, acquire mechanisms that make cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy. This phenomenon in its most common form is known as multidrug resistance (MDR). It is usually mediated by overexpression of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) or other plasma membrane ATPases that export cytotoxic drugs used in chemotherapy, thereby reducing their efficacy. However, additional adaptive changes are likely to be required in order to confer a full MDR phenotype. Recent studies have shown that acquisition of MDR is accompanied by upregulation of lipids and proteins that constitute lipid rafts and caveolar membranes, notably glucosylceramide and caveolin. These changes may be related to the fact that in MDR cells a significant fraction of cellular P-gp is associated with caveolin-rich membrane domains, they may be involved in drug transport and they could have an impact on drug-induced apoptosis and on the phenotypic transformation of MDR cancer cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caveolae / metabolism*
  • Caveolin 1
  • Caveolins / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*


  • CAV1 protein, human
  • Caveolin 1
  • Caveolins
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Membrane Proteins