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Cancer Res. 2004 Apr 1;64(7):2333-7.

Imatinib mesylate is a potent inhibitor of the ABCG2 (BCRP) transporter and reverses resistance to topotecan and SN-38 in vitro.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee 38105-2794, USA.


Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec, STI571) is a kinase inhibitor selective for Bcr-Abl, activated c-Kit kinases, and platelet-derived growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase. Imatinib mesylate, similar to many other tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), such as members of the 4-anilinoquinazoline class, competes for ATP binding. Previously, 4-anilinoquinazoline TKIs have been shown to inhibit the function of the breast cancer resistance-associated drug transporter (ABCG2), reversing resistance to camptothecin derivatives topotecan and SN-38. However, the potential to inhibit ABCG2 for the 2-phenylamino-pyrimidine class of TKIs, exemplified by imatinib mesylate, has not been examined. Here, we show that imatinib mesylate potently reverses ABCG2-mediated resistance to topotecan and SN-38 and significantly increases accumulation of topotecan only in cells expressing functional ABCG2. However, overexpression of ABCG2 does not confer resistance to imatinib mesylate. Furthermore, accumulation and efflux of [(14)C]imatinib mesylate are unaltered between ABCG2-expressing and non-ABCG2-expressing cells or by ATP depletion. These results suggest that imatinib mesylate inhibits the function of ABCG2 but is not a substrate for this transporter.

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