Background: Studies in taxane and/or anthracycline refractory metastatic breast cancer (mBC) patients have shown approximately 30% response rates to irinotecan. Hence, a significant number of patients will experience irinotecan-induced side effects without obtaining any benefit. The aim of this study was to lay the groundwork for development of predictive biomarkers for irinotecan treatment in BC. Methods: We established BC cell lines with acquired or de novo resistance to SN-38, by exposing the human BC cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 to either stepwise increasing concentrations over 6months or an initial high dose of SN-38 (the active metabolite of irinotecan), respectively. The resistant cell lines were analyzed for cross-resistance to other anti-cancer drugs, global gene expression, growth rates, TOP1 and TOP2A gene copy numbers and protein expression, and inhibition of the breast cancer resistance protein (ABCG2/BCRP) drug efflux pump. Results: We found that the resistant cell lines showed 7-100 fold increased resistance to SN-38 but remained sensitive to docetaxel and the non-camptothecin Top1 inhibitor LMP400. The resistant cell lines were characterized by Top1 down-regulation, changed isoelectric points of Top1 and reduced growth rates. The gene and protein expression of ABCG2/BCRP was up-regulated in the resistant sub-lines and functional assays revealed BCRP as a key mediator of SN-38 resistance. Conclusions: Based on our preclinical results, we suggest analyzing the predictive value of the BCRP in breast cancer patients scheduled for irinotecan treatment. Moreover, LMP400 should be tested in a clinical setting in breast cancer patients with resistance to irinotecan.

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doi.org/10.1186/s12885-016-2071-1, hdl.handle.net/1765/90564
BMC Cancer
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Jandu, H, Aluzaite, K, Fogh, L, Thrane, S.W, Noer, J.B, Proszek, J, … Stenvang, J. (2016). Molecular characterization of irinotecan (SN-38) resistant human breast cancer cell lines. BMC Cancer, 16(1). doi:10.1186/s12885-016-2071-1