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Med Oncol. 2002;19(2):87-104.

Expression of MDR1/P-glycoprotein, the multidrug resistance protein MRP, and the lung-resistance protein LRP in multiple myeloma.

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Department C on Internal Medicine, Kantonsspital St Gallen, Switzerland.


The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of three genes associated with multidrug resistance (MDR) in multiple myeloma in relation to treatment status. MDR1/Pgp (P-glycoprotein) expression was detected in 41% of 93 myeloma samples. Generally, the incidence of MDR1/Pgp expression was higher in pretreated samples, and treatments with doxorubicin and/or vincristine were more effective in MDR1/Pgp expression than with alkylating agents. A significant association was observed between MDR1 /Pgp-positiveness and the ability of verapmil to increase doxorubicin sensitivity, suggesting functional relevance of MDR1/Pgp expression. MRP (multidrug resistance protein) expression was detected in 20.5% of 88 myeloma samples, in 26% at the mRNA level analyzed by quantitative reverse transriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and in only 3 of 79 samples by immunohistochemistry. LRP (lung-resistance protein) protein expression was observed in 12.5% of 72 myeloma samples. MRP and LRP expression was similar in samples with and without prior therapy. Approximately 80% of the myeloma samples with detectable mRNA expression of MDRI and MRP exhibited low expression levels corresponding to < 10% of the Pgp- and MRP-overexpressing multidrug-resistant human myeloma cell lines 8226/Dox6 and 8226/DOXint40c, respectively. Some normal bone marrow samples showed higher levels of MRP mRNA as compared to myeloma specimens, whereas MDRI mRNA expression in normal bone marrow was much lower (< or = 5%) than that in 8226/Dox6. These findings indicate a requirement to develop single-cell assays for MRP detection in multiple myeloma that are more sensitive than immunohistochemistry and might be useful to evaluate the incidence of genes associated with MDR.

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