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Anticancer Drugs. 1995 Dec;6(6):727-35.

Saturation reversal of the multidrug pump using many reversers in low-dose combinations.

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Biochemistry Department, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.


Multidrug resistance in cancer cells, in cell culture and in the clinic, is often associated with a membrane protein (the multidrug resistance pump or P-glycoprotein) that pumps out anti-cancer drugs as fast as they enter the cell. This pump is blocked by a range of well-known pharmaceuticals that reverse drug resistance. We have investigated whether effective reversal of drug resistance could be achieved by using many reversers together, each at a low dose relative to its maximal tolerated plasma level. We measured in cell culture, using resistant P388 cells in suspension, the extent of reversal of the accumulation of two labeled cytotoxins (vinblastine and daunomycin). We fitted the data to a modified Michaelis-Menten equation and extracted the half-inhibition constants for 18 reversers acting on the pump. We measured also the reversal of resistance in a cell growth assay using incorporation of labeled thymidine. We showed that these drugs in groups of up to 18 together, each drug being at a low dose, in many cases well-tolerated in humans, had additive effects so that the combination was as effective as any of the drugs present singly. This was the case both for reversal of cell accumulation and for the effects of cytotoxins on cell growth. Our data show that a low-dose multidrug approach to saturation reversal of the multidrug pump is feasible in cell culture and provide the initial experimental basis for the development of an effective regime of such combination reversal therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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