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Radiation and heat sensitivity of human T-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML) clones displaying multiple drug resistance (MDR).

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  • 1Department of Therapeutic Radiology-Radiation Oncology, University of Minnesota Health Sciences Center, Minneapolis.


The hyperthermia as well as radiation responses of multidrug resistant (CEM/VLB100 with classical MDR and CEM/VM-1 with atypical MDR), methotrexate resistant (CEM/MTX) subclones of CCRF-CEM T-lineage ALL cell line were compared with those of a drug sensitive (CEM-1-3) subclone from the same parent cell line. Also analyzed were the hyperthermia as well as radiation responses of multidrug resistant (HL60/AR) and drug sensitive subclones of the HL60 AML cell line. Notably, the drug resistant subclones of CEM and HL60 were as sensitive to hyperthermia as were the drug sensitive subclones. Importantly, no thermotolerant plateau was observed in the hyperthermia survival curves of the drug resistant subclones, indicating that drug/multidrug resistance is not associated with a greater likelihood of thermal tolerance development during hyperthermia. Similarly, the drug resistant CEM and HL60 subclones were not more radiation resistant than the drug sensitive subclones. Thus, the classical or atypical forms of multidrug resistance or methotrexate resistance of the analyzed leukemic cell lines were not associated with radiation resistance. Furthermore, the radiation survival curves of the drug resistant subclones lacked a distinct initial shoulder and their n values were not greater than those of the drug sensitive subclones, suggesting that multidrug resistance is not associated with an increased ability to repair or accumulate sublethal radiation damage. Our findings provide evidence that there is no apparent association between drug/multidrug resistance and heat or radiation sensitivity of CEM T-lineage ALL or HL60 AML leukemia cells. The results of this study indicate that acquired resistance to methotrexate, vinblastine, vincristine, etoposide, actinomycin-D, adriamycin, or daunomycin, or pleiotropic multidrug resistance do not necessarily confer radiation resistance for human leukemic cells.

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