To investigate the possible role of the multidrug resistance phenotype to chemoresistance in human ovarian carcinoma, we have analyzed human multidrug resistance gene (mdr 1) expression in 8 human ovarian adenocarcinoma cell lines. An increase in P-glycoprotein level specific to multidrug-resistant tumor cells was not apparently associated with the increase in resistance to vincristine (VCR) or doxorubicin (Adriamycin). Mdr 1 transcripts (4.5 kilobases) were observed in the RNA preparation obtained from only one cell line (SHIN-3) that showed the highest resistance to both drugs in vitro and in vivo. No cell lines showed mdr 1 DNA amplification. These results suggest that the insensitivity of human ovarian carcinoma to chemotherapy could be partly explained by the expression of mdr 1.
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