Bcl-2 has differing effects on the sensitivity of breast cancer cells depending on the antineoplastic drug used

D. Del Bufalo, A. Biroccio, D. Trisciuoglio, T. Bruno, A. Floridi, A. Aquino, G. Zupi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this paper was to evaluate the role of bcl-2 in the susceptibility of the MCF7 ADR human breast carcinoma line overexpressing the P-170 glycoprotein (P-170) to various drugs. The sensitivity to four multidrug resistance (MDR)-related drugs (doxorubicin (ADR), vincristine (VCR), vinblastine (VBL), actinomycin D (ACTD)) and three MDR-non-related drugs (cisplatin (DDP), bischloroethylnitrosourea (BCNU), 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)) was evaluated by the 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay in three bcl-2-overexpressing clones obtained from the MCF7 ADR line. We found that the bcl-2-overexpressing clones show increased resistance to DDP and BCNU, while no difference to 5-FU were observed between the control cells and bcl-2 transfectants. Surprisingly, bcl-2-overexpressing clones displayed an increased sensitivity compared with the control cells to the MDR-related drugs ADR, VCR, VBL and ACTD. Focusing on DDP and ADR, we found that the increased resistance of the bcl-2 transfectants to DDP was correlated to their ability to prevent apoptosis, while the enhanced sensitivity to ADR was associated with an increased ADR accumulation and a decreased ADR efflux. Moreover, while bcl-2 overexpression does not induce changes in P-170 glycoprotein expression, it did induce a reduction of the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels and basal protein kinase C (PKC) activity, both of which have a crucial role in the regulation of the MDR phenotype. In conclusion, the effect of bcl-2 on antineoplastic sensitivity observed in this study underscores the idea that bcl-2 may have distinct biological effects depending on the anticancer drug used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2455-2462
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002


  • Antineoplastic drugs
  • Breast carcinoma, bcl-2
  • MDR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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