MRP-1 is implicated in multidrug resistance and was described as prognostic in high-risk patients with soft-tissue sarcoma (STS) in a previous study. The current research aimed to validate MRP-1 prognostic/predictive value in localized sarcomas treated with anthracyclines plus ifosfamide within the ISG-1001 phase III study. In addition, the inhibitory activity on MRP-1 was investigated in preclinical studies to identify new combinations able to increase the efficacy of standard chemotherapy in STS. MRP-1 expression was assessed by IHC in tissue microarrays from patients with STS and tested for correlation with disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS). In vitro studies tested the efficacy of MRP-1 inhibitors (nilotinib, ripretinib, selumetinib, and avapritinib) in sarcoma cell lines. The effect of combinations of the most active MRP-1 inhibitors and chemotherapy was measured on the basis of apoptosis. MRP-1 was evaluable in 231 of 264 cases who entered the study. MRP-1 expression (strong intensity) was independently associated with worse DFS [HR, 1.78; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11-2.83; P = 0.016], in the multivariate analysis, with a trend for a worse OS (HR, 1.78; 95% CI, 0.97-3.25; P = 0.062). In vitro studies showed that the addition of MRP-1 inhibitors (nilotinib or avapritinib) to doxorubicin plus palifosfamide, significantly increased cell death in SK-UT-1 and CP0024 cell lines. MRP-1 is an adverse predictive factor in localized high-risk patients with STS treated with neoadjuvant anthracyclines plus ifosfamide followed by surgery. In vitro findings support the clinical assessment of the combination of chemotherapy and MRP-1 inhibitors as a promising strategy to overcome the drug ceiling effect for chemotherapy.
©2021 American Association for Cancer Research.