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Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1994;34(6):459-64.

Quercetin potentiates the effect of adriamycin in a multidrug-resistant MCF-7 human breast-cancer cell line: P-glycoprotein as a possible target.

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Department of Gynecology, Catholic University, Rome, Italy.


This study demonstrates that the flavonoid quercetin (Q), a plant-derived compound with low toxicity in vivo, greatly potentiates the growth-inhibitory activity of Adriamycin (ADR) on MCF-7 ADR-resistant human breast cancer cells. The effect of Q was dose-dependent at concentrations ranging between 1 and 10 microM. Since ADR resistance in these cells is associated with the expression of high levels of P-glycoprotein (Pgp), we evaluated the effect of Q and related flavonoids of Pgp activity in cytofluorographic efflux experiments with the fluorescent dye rhodamine 123 (Rh 123). Our results indicate that Q and 3-OMe Q (3',4',7-trimethoxyquercetin) but not the 3-rhamnosylglucoside of Q (rutin) inhibit the Pgp pump-efflux activity in a dose-related manner. Moreover, 10 microM Q reduces the expression of the immunoreactive Pgp in MCF-7 ADR-resistant cells as evaluated by cytofluorimetric assay. In conclusion, these findings provide a further biological basis for the potential therapeutic application of Q as an anti-cancer drug either alone or in combination with ADR in multidrug-resistant breast tumor cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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