Increased resistance to cytotoxic agents in ZR75B human breast cancer cells transfected with epidermal growth factor receptor

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 1995 Apr 28;110(1-2):205-11. doi: 10.1016/0303-7207(95)03535-f.


Human breast cancer cells selected for multidrug resistance frequently overexpress ligands and receptors in the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor family. To determine whether this overexpression contributes to the drug resistant phenotype, EGF receptor transfected ZR75B human breast cancer cells were examined. Two EGF receptor overexpressing clones were evaluated: clone 11 with > 1 x 10(6) sites, and clone 13 with 310,000 receptor sites/cell. These were compared with clone 2-neo, which was transfected with the neomycin gene only and contained 43,000 receptor sites/cell. The EGF receptor overexpressing clones and the neo transfected control clone displayed comparable growth rates. Cytotoxicity analyses were performed with doxorubicin, vinblastine, cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil to determine the sensitivity of the clones to antineoplastic drugs. The EGF receptor overexpressing clones were found to be 1.5-5.6 times more resistant to the four drugs tested. This increase in the IC50 conferred a selective advantage when grown in the presence of 2, 3 and 6 ng/ml doxorubicin. Clone 13 cells overtook a mixed population which began with clone 2-neo comprising 95% of the cells. Clone 2-neo remained the dominant clone in the absence of drug. Finally, after long-term selection of the clones with 6 ng/ml doxorubicin, clone 2-neo became fourfold more resistant than the unselected clone 2-neo, a level which was comparable to that found in the EGF receptor overexpressing clones 11 and 13. No additional increase in resistance was observed for these clones, suggesting that clone 2-neo had developed additional resistance mechanisms.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Cisplatin / pharmacology
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple*
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • ErbB Receptors / physiology
  • Fluorouracil / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression*
  • Humans
  • Neomycin
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Transfection*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Vinblastine / pharmacology


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Vinblastine
  • Doxorubicin
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Neomycin
  • Cisplatin
  • Fluorouracil