In vitro and in vivo evidence for the importance of breast cancer resistance protein transporters (BCRP/MXR/ABCP/ABCG2)

Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2011;(201):325-71. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-14541-4_9.


The breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP/ABCG2) is a member of the G-subfamiliy of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC)-transporter superfamily. This half-transporter is assumed to function as an important mechanism limiting cellular accumulation of various compounds. In context of its tissue distribution with localization in the sinusoidal membrane of hepatocytes, and in the apical membrane of enterocytes ABCG2 is assumed to function as an important mechanism facilitating hepatobiliary excretion and limiting oral bioavailability, respectively. Indeed functional assessment performing mouse studies with genetic deletion or chemical inhibition of the transporter, or performing pharmacogenetic studies in humans support this assumption. Furthermore the efflux function of ABCG2 has been linked to sanctuary blood tissue barriers as described for placenta and the central nervous system. However, in lactating mammary glands ABCG2 increases the transfer of substrates into milk thereby increasing the exposure to potential noxes of a breastfed newborn. With regard to its broad substrate spectrum including various anticancer drugs and environmental carcinogens the function of ABCG2 has been associated with multidrug resistance and tumor development/progression. In terms of cancer biology current research is focusing on the expression and function of ABCG2 in immature stem cells. Recent findings support the notion that the physiological function of ABCG2 is involved in the elimination of uric acid resulting in higher risk for developing gout in male patients harboring genetic variants. Taken together ABCG2 is implicated in various pathophysiological and pharmacological processes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / antagonists & inhibitors
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / metabolism
  • Biological Transport
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Genotype
  • Gout / genetics
  • Gout / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Phenotype
  • Risk Factors
  • Uric Acid / metabolism


  • ABCG2 protein, human
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Abcg2 protein, mouse
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Uric Acid