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Apoptosis. 1997;2(6):540-8.

Role of apoptosis and apoptosis-related proteins in the cisplatin-resistant phenotype of human tumor cell lines.

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Division of Experimental Oncology B, Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori, Milan, Italy.


Since apoptosis is the primary mode of cell death induced by cisplatin, the role of apoptosis and apoptosis-related gene products in cisplatin resistance was investigated in four human cisplatin-resistant cell lines of different tumour type. A common feature of the resistant sublines was a reduced susceptibility to drug-induced apoptosis compared to parental sensitive lines. Loss of wild-type p53 function was not a general event associated with the development of drug resistance. An increased bcl-2 expression was found in resistant cells characterized by mutant p53 (A431/Pt and IGROV-1/Pt), whereas in osteosarcoma (U2-OS/Pt) and in ovarian carcinoma (A2780/CP) cells with wild-type p53, bcl-2 levels were markedly reduced. U2-OS/Pt cells had a 16-fold increase in the level of Bcl-xL protein. Stable transfection of U2-OS cells with bcl-xL cDNA conferred a low level of drug resistance to cisplatin, suggesting that overexpression of this gene contributes to the cisplatin-resistant phenotype of this osteosarcoma cell system. In conclusion, these observations suggest a variable contribution of apoptosis-related genes to cisplatin resistance depending on the biological background of the cell system and presumably reflecting different pathways of apoptosis.


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