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Clin Cancer Res. 2002 Apr;8(4):1068-74.

Expression of the breast cancer resistance protein in breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Therapy, The Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.



The breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) is involved in in vitro multidrug resistance and was first identified in the breast cancer cell line MCF7/AdrVp. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of BCRP in resistance of breast cancer to anthracycline treatment.


BCRP mRNA was determined with real-time reverse transcription-PCR and immunostaining in nine breast cancer cell lines and in samples of 25 primary breast carcinomas and 27 patients who received preoperative anthracycline-based therapy. Tumor response to treatment and patient survival were recorded.


In cell lines, only MCF7 and BT20 had BCRP mRNA levels coinciding with membrane-bound immunostaining. In clinical samples, BCRP expression varied widely (range, 0.01-0.86). With immunohistochemistry, BCRP was detected in vessels and normal breast epithelium but not in tumor cells. There was no difference in BCRP expression between anthracycline-naïve and treated tumor samples. BCRP expression was not associated with decreased response or survival.


There is no indication that elevated BCRP expression in breast carcinomas confers resistance to anthracyclines. Expression was not detectable with immunohistochemistry.

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