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Apoptosis. 2014 Aug;19(8):1293-300. doi: 10.1007/s10495-014-0998-8.

Reversal of multidrug resistance in vitro and in vivo by 5-N-formylardeemin, a new ardeemin derivative.

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Laboratory of Molecular and Translational Medicine, Key Laboratory of Birth Defects and Related Diseases of Women and Children (Sichuan University) of Ministry of Education, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, China.


Because multidrug resistance (MDR) is a serious impediment to the use of chemotherapy in treating cancer patients, great efforts have been made to search for effective MDR-reversing agents. We have developed a brand new synthetic ardeemin derivative, 5-N-formylardeemin, and investigated the activity of which in reversing MDR in MDR cancer cell lines derived from human breast cancer (MCF-7-R) or lung cancer (A549-R). 5-N-formylardeemin strongly enhanced the anti-cancer efficacy of doxorubicin, vincristine through potentiation of apoptosis in both MCF-7-R and A549-R at relatively noncytotoxic concentrations in vitro. Mechanistic studies showed that 5-N-formylardeemin inhibited the expression of MDR-1 (P-gp) and increased the intracellular accumulation of cytotoxic drugs in the MDR cells, suggesting that 5-N-formylardeemin reverses MDR activities through inhibiting MDR-1 expression. Interestingly, 5-N-formylardeemin also sensitized the parent wild-type cancer cells toward these chemotherapeutic agents to various extents. Importantly, in vivo studies demonstrated that 5-N-formylardeemin significantly improved the therapeutic effects of doxorubicin in nude mice bearing A549-R xenografts, which was associated with reduced expression of MDR-1 protein level and increased apoptosis in tumor tissues. These results underscore 5-N-formylardeemin as a potential sensitizer for chemotherapy against multidrug resistant cancers.

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