Gefinitib reverses breast cancer resistance protein-mediated drug resistance

Kae Yanase, Satomi Tsukahara, Sakiyo Asada, Etsuko Ishikawa, Yasuo Imai, Yoshikazu Sugimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Citations (Scopus)


Breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) is an ATP binding cassette transporter that confers resistance to a series of anticancer agents such as 7-ethyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin (SN-38), topotecan, and mitoxantrone. In this study, we evaluated the possible interaction of gefitinib, a selective epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, with BCRP. BCRP-transduced human epidermoid carcinoma A431 (A431 /BCRP) cells acquired cellular resistance to gefitinib, suggesting that BCRP could be one of the determinants of gefitinib sensitivity in a certain sort of cells. Next, the effect of gefitinib on BCRP-mediated drug resistance was examined. Gefitinib reversed SN-38 resistance in BCRP-transduced human myelogenous leukemia K562 (K562/BCRP) or BCRP-transduced murine lymphocytic leukemia P388 (P388/BCRP) cells but not in these parental cells. In addition, gefitinib sensitized human colon cancer HT-29 cells, which endogenously express BCRP, to SN-38. Gefitinib increased intracellular accumulation of topotecan in K562/BCRP cells and suppressed ATP-dependent transport of estrone 3-sulfate, a substrate of BCRP, in membrane vesicles from K562/BCRP cells. These results suggest that gefitinib may overcome BCRP-mediated drug resistance by inhibiting the pump function of BCRP. Furthermore, P388/BCRP-transplanted mice treated with combination of irinotecan and gefitinib survived significantly longer than those treated with irinotecan alone or gefitinib alone. In conclusion, gefitinib is shown to interact with BCRP. BCRP expression in a certain sort of cells is supposed to be one of the determinants of gefitinib sensitivity. Gefitinib inhibits the transporter function of BCRP and reverses BCRP-mediated drug resistance both in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1125
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular cancer therapeutics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Sept 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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