Down-regulation of BCRP/ABCG2 in colorectal and cervical cancer

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 May 5;343(2):571-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.02.172. Epub 2006 Mar 9.


Expression of Breast Cancer Resistance Protein (BCRP/ABCG2) in tumor cells is associated with resistance to multiple chemotherapeutic agents. BCRP also protects against phototoxicity by mediating the efflux of protoporphyrins from cells. However, chemotherapy and photodynamic therapy are effective treatment options for cancer. Furthermore, protoporphyrins are essential, in the form of heme, for the synthesis of nitric oxide, over-production of which is associated with cancer. This raises the question as to whether the expression of this transporter is altered in cancer. To address this question, we investigated the expression of BCRP in colorectal cancer and cervical cancer. Paired normal and cancer tissues from colectomy specimens were used for the analysis of BCRP mRNA by RT-PCR and Northern blot. BCRP was analyzed by immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescence. Similar studies were also done with specimens of normal cervix and cancer cervix. A commercial dot blot was probed to quantify the expression of BCRP in paired normal and cancer cDNA samples from 154 patients with tumors in 19 different tissues. BCRP mRNA was present in normal colorectal tissue and showed a 6-fold decrease in cancer. BCRP was abundant in the normal colon and showed a decrease in colon cancer. The down-regulation of BCRP mRNA and protein was also evident in cervical cancer. There was also a decrease in BCRP mRNA in cancer in 12 of the 19 different tissues collected from 154 patients. These data show that cancer-associated down-regulation of BCRP is likely to be a common phenomenon in several tissues. Decreased expression of BCRP may have a role in tumorigenesis by allowing accumulation of genotoxins and over-production of nitric oxide.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • ABCG2 protein, human
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Neoplasm Proteins