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Br J Cancer. 2000 Jan;82(2):436-40.

BCL-2 family protein expression and platinum drug resistance in ovarian carcinoma.

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CRC Centre for Cancer Therapeutics, Institute of Cancer Research, Belmont, Sutton, UK.


The expression of the BCL-2 family proteins, BCL-2, BAX, BCL(XL) and BAK have been determined in a panel of 12 human ovarian carcinoma cell lines encompassing a wide range in sensitivity to cisplatin. Whereas BAX, BCL(XL) and BAK levels did not correlate with sensitivity, there was a statistically significant inverse correlation (r = -0.81; P = 0.002) between growth inhibition by cisplatin and BCL-2 levels. In sublines possessing acquired resistance to various platinum-based drugs or across a panel of human ovarian carcinoma xenografts, there was no consistent pattern of BCL-2 expression. Two relatively sensitive lines (A2780 and CH1) have been stably transfected with bcl-2 and bcl(XL) respectively and two relatively resistant lines (A2780cisR and SKOV-3) stably transfected with bax. Overexpression of BCL-2 in A2780 cells led to resistance to cisplatin compared to the vector control when assayed at 48 h post-drug incubation but a significant increase in sensitivity at 96 h. Relative rates of apoptosis at 48- and 96-h post-cisplatin exposure mirrored the growth inhibition. There was no significant difference in sensitivity of the pair of lines by clonogenic assay. No significant changes in chemosensitivity to a variety of DNA-damaging or tubulin-interactive agents were observed in the remaining transfected lines. Taken together, these results suggest that, in human ovarian carcinoma cells, high BCL-2 levels (either naturally occurring or through gene transfection) confers a trend towards sensitivity not resistance to platinum drugs.

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