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Exp Hematol. 1998 Dec;26(13):1223-8.

Lack of cross-resistance with gemcitabine and cytarabine in cladribine-resistant HL60 cells with elevated 5'-nucleotidase activity.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Innsbruck, Austria. michael.schirmer@uibk.ac.at


Cross-resistance patterns between chemotherapeutic agents have implications for the treatment of hematologic and other diseases. Previous in vitro models have shown cross-resistance between the purine analog 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine (cladribine) and the pyrimidine analogs 2',2'-difluorodeoxycytidine (gemcitabine) and 1-beta-D-arabinofuranosylcytosine (cytosine arabinoside, cytarabine) with reduced deoxycytidine kinase (dCK) activity as the underlying determinant of resistance. In this study, we continuously exposed the human promyelocytic leukemia cell line HL60 to as much as 1024 nM cladribine. After limiting dilution, the cladribine concentrations that caused 50% growth inhibition (IC50) of the two clones R13 and R23 were 33.3- and 18.7-fold, respectively, higher than the IC50 of the parental HL60 cells (8.7+/-1.3 nM). These cladribine-resistant clones, however, showed no cross-resistance to gemcitabine and only 3.3- and 2.7-fold resistance to cytarabine, respectively. Characterization of both clones revealed stably elevated levels of purine-specific "high-Michaelis constant (Km)" 5'-nucleotidase (5'-NT) messenger RNA expression and specific activity, whereas pyrimidine-specific "low-Km" 5'-NT activity was undetectable, and dCK activity was only marginally decreased in R13. Thus, the ratio of dCK (specific for cladribine) to high-Km 5'-NT activity in R13 and R23 was reduced to 65.3% and 63.7%, respectively. These results show that changes of high-Km 5'-NT activity can induce cladribine resistance, without cross-resistance to gemcitabine.

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