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Cancer Res. 2004 Jun 1;64(11):3761-6.

An increase in the expression of ribonucleotide reductase large subunit 1 is associated with gemcitabine resistance in non-small cell lung cancer cell lines.

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  • 1Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.


The mechanisms of resistance to the antimetabolite gemcitabine in non-small cell lung cancer have not been extensively evaluated. In this study, we report the generation of two gemcitabine-selected non-small cell lung cancer cell lines, H358-G200 and H460-G400. Expression profiling results indicated that there was evidence for changes in the expression of 134 genes in H358-G200 cells compared with its parental line, whereas H460-G400 cells exhibited 233 genes that appeared to be under- or overexpressed compared with H460 cells. However, only the increased expression of ribonucleotide reductase subunit 1 (RRM1), which appeared in both resistant cell lines, met predefined analysis criteria for genes to investigate further. Quantitative PCR analysis demonstrated H358-G200 cells had a greater than 125-fold increase in RRM1 RNA expression. Western blot analysis confirmed high levels of RRM1 protein in this line compared with the gemcitabine-sensitive parent. No significant change in the expression of RRM2 was observed in either cell line, although both gemcitabine-resistant cell lines had an approximate 3-fold increase in p53R2 protein. A partial revertant of H358-G200 cells had reduced levels of RRM1 protein (compared with G200 cells), without observed changes in RRM2 or p53R2. In vitro analyses of ribonucleotide reductase activity demonstrated that despite high levels of RRM1 protein, ribonucleotide reductase activity was not increased in H358-G200 cells when compared with parental cells. The cDNA encoding RRM1 from H358-G200 cells was cloned and sequenced but did not reveal the presence of any mutations. The results from this study indicate that the level of RRM1 may affect gemcitabine response. Furthermore, RRM1 may serve as a biomarker for gemcitabine response.

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