Role of hypoxia and glycolysis in the development of multi-drug resistance in human tumor cells and the establishment of an orthotopic multi-drug resistant tumor model in nude mice using hypoxic pre-conditioning

Cancer Cell Int. 2011 Feb 14;11:3. doi: 10.1186/1475-2867-11-3.


Background: The development of multi-drug resistant (MDR) cancer is a significant challenge in the clinical treatment of recurrent disease. Hypoxia is an environmental selection pressure that contributes to the development of MDR. Many cancer cells, including MDR cells, resort to glycolysis for energy acquisition. This study aimed to explore the relationship between hypoxia, glycolysis, and MDR in a panel of human breast and ovarian cancer cells. A second aim of this study was to develop an orthotopic animal model of MDR breast cancer.

Methods: Nucleic and basal protein was extracted from a panel of human breast and ovarian cancer cells; MDR cells and cells pre-exposed to either normoxic or hypoxic conditions. Western blotting was used to assess the expression of MDR markers, hypoxia inducible factors, and glycolytic proteins. Tumor xenografts were established in the mammary fat pad of nu/nu mice using human breast cancer cells that were pre-exposed to either hypoxic or normoxic conditions. Immunohistochemistry was used to assess the MDR character of excised tumors.

Results: Hypoxia induces MDR and glycolysis in vitro, but the cellular response is cell-line specific and duration dependent. Using hypoxic, triple-negative breast cancer cells to establish 100 mm3 tumor xenografts in nude mice is a relevant model for MDR breast cancer.

Conclusion: Hypoxic pre-conditiong and xenografting may be used to develop a multitude of orthotopic models for MDR cancer aiding in the study and treatment of the disease.