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Anticancer Res. 2007 Jul-Aug;27(4B):2241-9.

Human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1, as a predictor of 5-fluorouracil resistance in human pancreatic cancer.

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Department of Surgery and Clinical Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University E2, 2-2 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.



The purpose of this study was to find a novel biomarker to predict 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) or gemcitabine (2',2'-difluoro-deoxycytidine) sensitivity in pancreatic cancer.


The relationship between 5-FU and gemcitabine sensitivity and the mRNA levels of human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1), thymidylate synthase (TS) and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) was investigated using seven types of human pancreatic carcinoma cell line (AsPC1, BxPC3, MiaPaCa-2, PSN1, Panc1, PCI6, and KMP-4). Quantitative mRNA expression was measured by LightCycler. A [3H] gemcitabine cellular uptake assay was performed to examine the inhibition of hENT1 by nitrobenzylmercaptoprine ribonucleoside (NBMPR).


The expression levels of hENT1 mRNA significantly correlated with the IC50 value of 5-FU in all seven lines and also correlated with gemcitabine resistance in six lines (except AsPC1). No significant association was observed between TS or DPD mRNA levels and 5-FU sensitivity. In the PSN1 cells, [3H] gemcitabine uptake via hENT1 was significantly inhibited by NBMPR, and 5-FU sensitivity was significantly increased when the cells were pretreated with NBMPR.


Our results suggest that hENT1 plays an important role in 5-FU resistance and that hENT1 mRNA levels might be a useful marker to predict 5-FU sensitivity in pancreatic cancer.

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