Purpose: The development of multidrug resistance (MDR) is one of the major limitations in the treatment of cancer. Induction of P-glycoprotein (Pgp) has been regarded as one of the main mechanisms underlying anticancer drug-induced MDR. Since the induction of Pgp is (in part) regulated by the pregnane X receptor (PXR), the ability of several widely used anticancer drugs to activate PXR-mediated Pgp induction was investigated.
Methods: A Pgp-reporter gene assay was employed to determine the ability of a panel of widely used anticancer drugs to induce Pgp. To further assess whether PXR could be involved in the induction of Pgp by anticancer drugs, Pgp protein expression after treatment with the anticancer drugs was determined in both wild-type and PXR-knocked down LS180 cells. Furthermore, the effect of the anticancer drugs on the intracellular accumulation of the Pgp-probes rhodamine 123 and doxorubicin was determined.
Results: Our study showed that vincristine, tamoxifen, vinblastine, docetaxel, cyclophosphamide, flutamide, ifosfamide and paclitaxel activate PXR-mediated Pgp induction, and were additionally shown to affect the intracellular accumulation of the Pgp probe rhodamine 123. Moreover, PXR activation was also shown to reduce the cytotoxic activity of the Pgp substrate doxorubicin in colon cancer cells.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that several anticancer drugs can activate PXR-mediated induction of Pgp and affect the accumulation of Pgp substrates.