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Br J Cancer. 2000 Oct;83(7):892-8.

MDR 1 activation is the predominant resistance mechanism selected by vinblastine in MES-SA cells.

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Oncology Division, Department of Medicine, and the Cancer Biology Program, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5151, USA.


Single-step selection with vinblastine was performed in populations of the human sarcoma cell line MES-SA, to assess cellular mechanisms of resistance to the drug and mutation rates via fluctuation analysis. At a stringent selection with 20 nM vinblastine, resulting in 5-6 logs of cell killing, the mutation rate was 7 x 10(-7)per cell generation. Analysis of variance supported the hypothesis of spontaneous mutations conferring vinblastine resistance, rather than induction of adaptive response elements. Surviving clones displayed a stable multidrug resistance phenotype over a 3-month period. All propagated clones demonstrated high levels of resistance to vinblastine and paclitaxel, and lower cross-resistance to doxorubicin and etoposide. Activation of MDR 1 gene expression and P-glycoprotein function was demonstrable in all clones. No elevation was found in the expression of the mrp gene, the LRP-56 major vault protein and beta-tubulin isotypes (M40, beta4, 5beta, and beta9) in these mutants. We conclude that initial-step resistant mechanism in these vinblastine-selected mutants commonly arises from a stochastic mutation event with activation of the MDR 1 gene.

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