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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effects of cyclosporin A, tamoxifen and medroxyprogesterone acetate on the enhacement of adriamycin cytotoxicity in primary cultures of human breast epithelial cells Claudio, Jerome Anthony A.


Adriamycin (Adr), the single most active agent used in the treatment of breast cancer, may become ineffective as treatment progresses due to the development of multidrug resistant (MDR) tumors. A major mechanism associated with MDR is increased P-glycoprotein (Pgp) expression. This thesis examined the abilities of the antiestrogen tamoxifen (TAM) and the progestin medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) as well as cyclosporin A (CsA), a known resistance modifier, to enhance the cytotoxic effects of Adr on human breast epithelial cells (HBEC) in primary culture. Pgp and estrogen receptor (ER) expression were determined in each of the cultures by immunocytochemical assays using the monoclonal antibodies C219 and H222 Spy, respectively. The Adrsensitive, Pgp-, ER+ MCF-7 cell line and the Adr-resistant, Pgp+, ER- MCF7-AdrR cell line were used as controls. Primary cultures were categorized as HBEC from tissues with or without previous chemotherapy. Pgp was detected in 1 of the 15 cell cultures from tissues without previous chemotherapy and in 5 of the 6 cell cultures from tissues previously exposed to chemotherapy. Incubation with either CsA or MPA plus Adr enhanced Adr toxicity in Pgp+ but not Pgp- cell cultures, whereas T AM had no effect on the sensitivity of any of the cultures. Of the 21 primary cultures of HBEC, 3 were ER+. There was no correlation between the enhancement of Adr cytotoxicity and ER status. The data suggest that MPA as well as CsA may be useful as modifying agents in overcoming Pgp-associated multidrug resistance.

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