Intrinsic or acquired resistance to chemotherapy is the major obstacle to overcome in the treatment of patients with solid carcinoma. Cisplatin is one of the most effective chemotherapeutic agents for treating ovarian carcinoma. Recently, copper-transporting P-type adenosine triphosphatase (ATP7B) has been demonstrated as one of the genes responsible for cisplatin resistance in vitro. We hypothesized that the expression of ATP7B gene increases resistance to cisplatin in ovarian carcinoma and a priori knowledge of its expression is important for the choice of therapy. The aim of our study was to assess the role of ATP7B gene in ovarian carcinoma and compare its expression with those of multidrug resistance-related transporters such as MDR1, MRP1, MRP2, LRP and BCRP genes. The transporters' gene expression profiles from 82 patients treated with cisplatin-based chemotherapy after surgery were assessed by RT-PCR. We did not observe any significant correlation between ATP7B gene expression and those of MDR1, MRP1, MRP2, LRP or BCRP. The expression level of ATP7B gene was significantly increased (p < 0.05) in patients with moderately-/poorly-differentiated ovarian carcinomas treated with cisplatin-based chemotherapy, thus ATP7B may serve as an independent prognostic factor in these patients. In contrast, the expression level of MDR1, MRP1, MRP2, LRP and BCRP genes were not prognostic indicators of disease. These findings suggest that ATP7B gene may be considered as a novel chemoresistance marker and that inhibitor(s) of ATP7B might be useful, in patients with ovarian carcinoma treated with cisplatin-based chemotherapy.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.