D-Verapamil downmodulates P170-associated resistance to doxorubicin, daunorubicin and idarubicin

D. Damiani, M. Michieli, A. Michelutti, C. Melli, M. Cerno, M. Baccarani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Verapamil (VRP) is an effective modulator of P170-associated multidrug resistance (MDR), but its clinical application is limited by cardiovascular side-effects. The D-isomer of VRP (D-VRP) is 10 times less active than the racemic mixture on the cardiovascular system, but retains a MDR modulating activity. Daunorubicin (DNR) and doxorubicin (DX) are two anthracyclines whose cytotoxicity is strongly related with the expression of P170, while their respective lipophylic derivatives idarubicin (IDA) and iododoxorubicin (IDX) are less P170-dependent. We studied the effect of D-VRP on intracellular retention and on the cytotoxicity of these four anthracyclines in two MDR cell systems (LOVO and CEM) by flow cytometry and by a microcultured tetrazolium colorimetric assay (MTT). We found that in MDR cells D-VRP increased intracellular anthracycline concentration and increased the cytotoxicity of DNR, IDA and DX but not of IDX. The effect of D-VRP was dose-related, but it was already consistent at D-VRP concentrations that can be readily maintained in vivo (2-3 μM). These data suggest that at a clinically tolerable concentration D-VRP can downmodulate the resistance to DNR and DX and can restore full sensitivity to IDA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-180
Number of pages8
JournalAnti-Cancer Drugs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • anthracycline
  • chemotherapy
  • resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology


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