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Expression Of Mdr1 And Mdr3 Multidrug-resistance Genes In Human Acute And Chronic Leukemias And Association With Stimulation Of Drug Accumulation By Cyclosporine.

H. Herweijer, P. Sonneveld, F. Baas, K. Nooter
Published 1990 · Biology, Medicine

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We determined the expression levels of the mdr1 and mdr3 multidrug-resistance genes (also known as PGY1 and PGY3, respectively) in peripheral blood cells from 69 adult patients with acute and chronic leukemias, using an RNase protection assay. Expression of mdr1 was found in samples from patients with acute nonlymphocytic leukemia (13 of 17), chronic myelocytic leukemia (CML, chronic phase, 10 of 10; blast crisis, three of four), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL, eight of 11), B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL, 17 of 17), hairy cell leukemia (HCL, one of two), and T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (one of one), but not in B-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (B-PLL, 0 of seven). Expression of mdr3 was only detected in samples from B-cell lymphocytic leukemias: CML, lymphoid blast crisis (one of one), B-cell ALL (two of two), B-CLL (17 of 17), B-PLL (seven of seven), and HCL (two of two). In vitro drug uptake studies by on-line flow cytometry showed that in leukemia cells expressing either mdr1 or mdr3, the steady-state accumulation of daunorubicin could be significantly increased by addition of cyclosporine and, to a lesser extent, by verapamil. Because cyclosporine and verapamil are known as inhibitors of the mdr1-encoded P-glycoprotein drug-efflux pump, and because the mdr1 and mdr3 genes are highly homologous, our data suggest that the mdr3 gene encodes a functional drug pump in B-cell lymphocytic leukemias. The results of this study may have implications for clinical therapy for acute or chronic leukemias expressing the mdr1 or mdr3 gene, in particular, treatment with combinations of cytotoxic drugs plus agents that reverse multidrug resistance. Since mdr1 and mdr3 are frequently expressed in untreated as well as treated leukemia, such combination therapy should be considered for untreated patients as well as treated patients.

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