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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1989 Jun 30;161(3):1312-8.

Human tumor cells resistant to verapamil.

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Children's Cancer Research Laboratory, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia 29208.


The efficacy of the calcium channel blocker verapamil for enhancing at low concentrations the cytotoxicity of unrelated antineoplastic drugs and for inhibiting at high concentrations cell proliferation has stimulated interest in the underlying mechanisms of these two diverse effects. We have selected two human brain tumor cell lines (a TE671 medulloblastoma and a A172 glioma line) for resistance against 100 uM verapamil to aid in the elucidation of the mechanism of verapamil's antiproliferative effect. Our first experiments on the selected TE671 medulloblastoma cells show that, in the presence of 100 uM verapamil, these cells grow at a rate similar to that observed for the sensitive cells in the absence of verapamil. This resistant clone continues to exhibit resistance toward verapamil for at least three days after the verapamil has been removed from the growth medium. In contrast to the sensitive cells, the resistant cells show only slight cell cycle phase alterations after removal of verapamil from the growth medium. This, together with an unchanged c-myc gene expression after removal of verapamil, indicates a stable phenotypic alteration that is responsible for the exhibited resistance toward the antiproliferative effects of the drug. Experiments designed to elucidate the mechanism of resistance showed that these cells are not cross-resistant to the antineoplastic drugs vincristine and adriamycin. Also, the resistance is not accompanied by increased amounts of the 170-180 kDa P-glycoprotein that has been implicated in resistance phenomena of cancer cells towards antineoplastic drugs.

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