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Oncogene. 2005 Oct 13;24(45):6842-7.

Genetic determinants of methotrexate responsiveness and resistance in colon cancer cells.

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IDIBELL-Institut de Recerca Oncològica, Granvia km 2,7, L'Hospitalet, 08907 Barcelona, Spain.


Alternative genetic pathways characterized by specific genetic profiles and exhibiting distinctive biological and clinical features have been proposed in colorectal carcinogenesis. Methotrexate (MTX) is a potent inhibitor of the dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) enzyme, which is essential for DNA synthesis and cell growth. We have evaluated the association between different genetic features and the capacity to develop MTX resistance in colon cancer cell lines representative of alternative genetic pathways. Three aneuploid cell lines (HT-29, SW480, and SK-CO-1) showed pre-existing amplifications, but only one (HT-29) developed MTX resistance, showing amplification of the DHFR gene at 5q12-14 (>20-fold amplification and presence of extrachromosomal double minutes). Failure to develop resistance was attributed to the absence of two complete chromosomes 5 in SW480 and SK-CO-1 cells. Four near-diploid cell lines (LoVo, HCT116, DLD-1 and KM12C) and two aneuploid KM12C-derived metastases (KM12SM and KM12L4A) developed MTX resistance but none exhibited DHFR amplification. All resistant cells without DHFR gene amplification showed microsatellite instability. We conclude that chemoresistance capacity and the mechanism of chemoresistance are related with the genetic pathway and the karyotypic features of colon cancer cells.

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