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Mod Pathol. 2001 Sep;14(9):886-91.

DNA topoisomerase IIalpha in multiple myeloma: a marker of cell proliferation and not drug resistance.

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Department of Pathology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA.


DNA topoisomerase IIalpha (topo IIalpha) is the target for a number of antineoplastic agents. Down-regulation of this enzyme is one form of drug resistance. Topo IIalpha is also involved in DNA replication and transcription and serves as an indicator of proliferation rate in many human malignancies. This study examines whether topo IIalpha is one of the mechanisms of chemoresistance commonly observed in multiple myeloma (MM) or alternatively, whether topo IIalpha is associated with tumor cell proliferation. Bone marrow (BM) biopsy sections from 72 cases of MM, stratified according to proliferative activity (bromodeoxyuridine uptake), were immunostained for topo IIalpha. Immunoreactivity with an additional marker of drug resistance, glutathione-S-transferase pi, and the proliferation marker Ki-67 were also examined. Topo IIalpha was expressed in 26 (36%) cases and correlated strongly with proliferative activity (P <.001). A role for drug resistance could not be supported, given this strong relationship with proliferation and the finding that glutathione-S-transferase pi expression in 57 (78%) cases was independent of topo IIalpha immunoreactivity. Topo IIalpha was identified in 91 to 100% of highly proliferative tumors, as evaluated by bromodeoxyuridine uptake or Ki-67 reactivity, respectively. Proliferation also correlated with the histologic grade of the MM. Therefore, topo IIalpha immunoreactivity is primarily a marker of cell proliferation in MM and as such is likely to have prognostic significance. Highly proliferative tumors are most likely to be sensitive to chemotherapeutic protocols using anti-topo IIalpha agents.

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