Pharmacological and biological evidence for differing mechanisms of doxorubicin resistance in two human tumor cell lines

Marilyn L. Sloval, William S. Dalton, Jeffrey M. Trent, Gerald A. Hoeltge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


The cellular pharmacology of doxorubicin resistance (DOXR) has most commonly been associated with decreased drug uptake, enhanced drug efflux, cross-resistance to multiple anticancer agents, and the overproduction of a Mr 170,000 cell surface glycoprotein (termed P-glycoprotein). In this study, the pharmacological and genetic characteristics of two newly derived human DOXR sublines were examined. These DOXR sublines were established following continuously increasing DOX exposure until a 222-fold resistant fibrosarcoma subline (HT1080/DR4) and a 285-fold resistant colon adenocarcinoma subline (LoVo/DR5) were developed. However, three major lines of evidence suggest that despite the similar selection strategy, the mechanism of DOXR differs significantly between these two cell lines. First, Western blotting using the C219 antibody specific to P-glycoprotein revealed the overexpression of the Mr 170,000 cell surface glycoprotein in LoVo DOXR cells but not in HT1080 DOXR cells. Second, LoVo DOXR cells are cross-resistant to vincristine, actinomycin D, colchicine, etoposide, and gramicidin D, but not to 1 -β-D-arabinofuranosylcytosine. In contrast, HT1080 DOXR cells display cross-resistance to vincristine, acdnomycin D, vinblastine, and etoposide; however, they are not cross-resistant to gramicidin D, and show an increased (~18-fold) cross-resistance to 1-β-D-arabinofurano-sylcytosine. Third, intracellular DOX accumulation (as measured by [14C]DOX at 1-h and high-performance liquid chromatography analysis) was decreased ~2.7-fold in LoVo DOXR cells and ~2.0-fold in HT1080/DR4 cells. However, while net accumulation studies in the presence of 5 μg/ml verapamil reversed DOXR to parental values in LoVo colon adenocarcinoma cells, it only minimally decreased DOX resistance (12.6%) in HT1080/DR4 cells. Efflux patterns of [14C]DOX were similar for the DOXR sublines with an ~50% decrease in DOX retention after 1 h when compared to their respective parental cell lines. Our results suggest that DOXR in LoVo/DR5 cells may result from overexpression of P-glycoprotein. In contrast, DOXR in HT1080/DR4 appears to be non-P-glycoprotein mediated and may be related to an alternative mechanism capable of altering drug efflux or differential drug binding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2793-2797
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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