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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1990 Apr 4;82(7):607-12.

Overexpression of P-glycoprotein in mammalian tumor cell lines after fractionated X irradiation in vitro.

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  • 1Cellular Chemotherapy Laboratory, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, England.


We observed that in vitro exposure of mammalian tumor cells to fractionated x irradiation results in the expression of drug resistance. The cause of this resistance was investigated in a series of Chinese hamster ovary cell lines that had survived exposure to multiple lethal doses of radiation. These cell lines had increased levels of P-glycoprotein (Pgp), the multidrug-resistance-associated membrane glycoprotein. Consistent with the classic multidrug resistance phenotype, they exhibited cross-resistance to multiple drugs, as well as sensitivity to reversal of vincristine resistance by verapamil. However, the cell lines showed no change in their sensitivity to x rays. Pgp overexpression occurred in these cells, despite a lack of Pgp gene amplification or of significant alteration in Pgp messenger RNA levels. Although the cause of increased Pgp levels is not yet known, these data suggest a biological basis for the clinical problem of drug resistance that can occur in previously irradiated tumors.

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