Reversal of multidrug resistance-associated protein-mediated daunorubicin resistance by camptothecin

J Pharm Sci. 2002 Aug;91(8):1765-75. doi: 10.1002/jps.10162.


The multidrug-resistance (MR) status of camptothecin (CPT) was investigated in colon adenocarcinoma HT29 cells, leukemia K562, and breast carcinoma MCF7 cells expressing P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and/or MR-associated protein (MRP1). The concentration that induced 50% growth inhibition (IC(50)) against CPT was 0.14 and 0.20 microM in parental K562/WT and MCF7/WT cells, respectively. The drug resistant subline KH30 and MCF7/VP cells, which both overexpress MRP1, presented IC(50) values of 0.63 and 3.10 microM, respectively. The resulting resistance indexes were 3.80 and 12.50, respectively. However, in KH300 cells, a cell line that preferentially overexpresses Pgp, the IC(50) of CPT was 0.08 microM and thus did not exhibit resistance against CPT. In MCF7/DoX cells, preferentially overexpressing Pgp, but also a significant level of MRP1, the IC(50) of CPT was 0.64 microM and thus presented a resistance index of 3.26 against CPT. The cytotoxic effect of CPT was modulated in cells expressing MRP1 (MCF7/VP, HT29 cells) by the specific MRP1 modulators, probenecid and MK571. These results led us to consider CPT as a substrate for MRP1 and a potential modulator of MRP1 activity. To test this hypothesis, we examined the ability of nontoxic concentrations of CPT to sensitize MRP1-overexpressing cells to daunorubicin (DNR). In MCF7/VP and KH30 cells, nontoxic concentrations of CPT were able to enhance cytotoxicity of DNR and its nuclear accumulation. Sequential and simultaneous associations of CPT (100 nM) and DNR provided complete reversal of resistance, thus showing a synergistic effect in KH30 cells. However, simultaneous association (with 10 or 20 nM CPT) had an additive effect in MCF7/VP. These data suggest that CPT could be proposed as a candidate for the reversal of the MRP1 phenotype at clinically achievable concentrations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / metabolism
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Camptothecin / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Chemokines, CC / biosynthesis
  • Chemokines, CC / genetics
  • Daunorubicin / metabolism
  • Daunorubicin / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / pathology
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Chemokines, CC
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Ccl6 protein, mouse
  • thiazolyl blue
  • Camptothecin
  • Daunorubicin