Paclitaxel sensitization of multidrug-resistant cells to chemotherapy is independent of the cell cycle.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Cytometry, 2001, 43 (3), pp. 170 - 174
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BACKGROUND: Recent studies have shown that paclitaxel (Taxol) is an active chemotherapeutic in the treatment of small cell lung cancer. Paclitaxel binds to tubulin and prevents depolymerization. This causes cells to arrest in the G(2)/M phase of the cell cycle, resulting in sensitization of cells to drug or radiation treatment. METHODS: A drug-resistant H69 small cell lung cancer subline was established. Cytotoxicity of cisplatin and chlorambucil was determined using the MTT cell viability assay and distribution of DNA in the cell cycle. DNA distribution was analyzed by flow cytometry after treatment with paclitaxel or the other tubulin-binding drugs, vinblastine and navelbine. RESULTS: The H69-EPR drug-resistant subline was resistant to epirubicin (sixfold) and was cross-resistant to cisplatin (7.5-fold) and chlorambucil (7.5-fold). Pretreatment with paclitaxel or vinblastine, but not navelbine, sensitized the subline to cisplatin and chlorambucil (P < 0.05), with no effect on parental H69 cells. Sensitization was dose dependent and occurred at doses below those that caused a G(2)/M block in the cell cycle. CONCLUSION: Sensitization of drug-resistant cells by paclitaxel was not associated with its ability to cause a G(2)/M block in the cell cycle. Sensitization by paclitaxel and vinblastine, but not navelbine, which preferentially targets mitotic tubulin, suggests that sensitization may involve changes in the tubulin-dependent intracellular transport processes rather than changes in mitotic tubulin and the G(2)/M block.
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