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Br J Cancer. 2001 May; 84(10): 1391–1396.
PMCID: PMC2363628

Effect of P-glycoprotein on flavopiridol sensitivity


Flavopiridol is the first potent inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) to enter clinical trials. Little is known about mechanisms of resistance to this agent. In order to determine whether P-glycoprotein (Pgp) might play a role in flavopiridol resistance, we examined flavopiridol sensitivity in a pair of Chinese hamster ovary cell lines differing with respect to level of Pgp expression. The IC 50 s of flavopiridol in parental AuxB1 (lower Pgp) and colchicine-selected CHRC5 (higher Pgp) cells were 90.2 ± 6.6 nM and 117 ± 2.3 nM, respectively (P< 0.01), suggesting that Pgp might have a modest effect on flavopiridol action. Consistent with this hypothesis, pretreatment with either quinidine or verapamil (inhibitors of Pgp-mediated transport) sensitized CHRC5 cells to the antiproliferative effects of flavopiridol. Because of concern that colony forming assays might not accurately reflect cytotoxicity, we also examined flavopiridol-treated cells by trypan blue staining and flow cytometry. These assays confirmed that flavopiridol was less toxic to cells expressing higher levels of Pgp. Further experiments revealed that flavopiridol inhibited the binding of [3H]-azidopine to Pgp in isolated membrane vesicles, but only at high concentrations. Collectively, these results identify flavopiridol as a weak substrate for Pgp. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign

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