Multidrug resistance reversal agent, NSC77037, Identified with a cell-based screening assay

Michiro Susa, Edwin Choy, C. A.O. Yang, Joseph Schwab, Henry Mankin, Francis Hornicek, Zhenfeng Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The development of multidrug resistance (MDR) remains a significant obstacle in treating cancer patients with chemotherapy. To identify small-molecule compounds that can reverse MDR, the authors used a cell-based screening assay with an MDR ovarian cancer cell line. Incubating MDR cells with a sublethal concentration of paclitaxel in combination with each of 2000 small-molecule compounds from the National Cancer Institute Diversity Set Library, they identified NSC77037. The cytotoxic activity of NSC77037 and the duration of its effect were evaluated in vitro using a panel of cancer cell lines expressing permeability glycoprotein (Pgp), multiple drug resistance protein 1 (MRP 1 ), and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP). The mechanism of its effects was further analyzed by assessing the retention of calcein and. Pgp-ATPase activity. The relative potency of MDR reversal by NSC77037 was significantly higher than that of frequently used. MDR reversal agents such as verapamil and cyclosporine A. NSC77037 reversed Pgp without reversing MRP or BCRP-mediated MDR. NSC77037, at a concentration of >10 μM, moderately inhibited the proliferation of both sensitive and resistant cell lines, but the inhibitory effect of NSC77037 was not altered by coincubation with the Pgp inhibitor verapamil, suggesting that NSC77037 itself is not a substrate of Pgp. NSC77037 directly inhibited the function of Pgp in a dose-dependent manner, but it did not alter the protein expression level of Pgp. The use of NSC77037 to restore sensitivity to chemotherapy or to prevent resistance could be a potential treatment strategy for cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-296
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Screening
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell-based screening
  • Drug resistance
  • Nsc77037/tetrandrine
  • Pgp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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