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BMC Cancer. 2006 Mar 18;6:75.

CD40L induces multidrug resistance to apoptosis in breast carcinoma and lymphoma cells through caspase independent and dependent pathways.

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Equipe Cytokines et Cancer, Unité INSERM U590, Centre Léon Bérard, 28 rue Laënnec, 69373 Lyon cedex 08, France.



CD40L was found to reduce doxorubicin-induced apoptosis in non Hodgkin's lymphoma cell lines through caspase-3 dependent mechanism. Whether this represents a general mechanism for other tumor types is unknown.


The resistance induced by CD40L against apoptosis induced by a panel of cytotoxic chemotherapeutic drugs in non Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast carcinoma cell lines was investigated.


Doxorubicin, cisplatyl, etoposide, vinblastin and paclitaxel increased apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner in breast carcinoma as well as in non Hodgkin's lymphoma cell lines. Co-culture with irradiated L cells expressing CD40L significantly reduced the percentage of apoptotic cells in breast carcinoma and non Hodgkin's lymphoma cell lines treated with these drugs. In breast carcinoma cell lines, these 5 drugs induced an inconsistent increase of caspase-3/7 activity, while in non Hodgkin's lymphoma cell lines all 5 drugs increased caspase-3/7 activity up to 28-fold above baseline. Co-culture with CD40L L cells reduced (-39% to -89%) the activation of caspase-3/7 induced by these agents in all 5 non Hodgkin's lymphoma cell lines, but in none of the 2 breast carcinoma cell lines. Co culture with CD40L L cells also blocked the apoptosis induced by exogenous ceramides in breast carcinoma and non Hodgkin's lymphoma cell lines through a caspase-3-like, 8-like and 9-like dependent pathways.


These results indicate that CD40L expressed on adjacent non tumoral cells induces multidrug resistance to cytotoxic agents and ceramides in both breast carcinoma and non Hodgkin's lymphoma cell lines, albeit through a caspase independent and dependent pathway respectively.

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