Effects of Dex-Verapamil on Doxorubicin cytotoxicity in p388 murine leukemia cells

Elvira Noviello, Enrico Allievi, Patrizia Russo, Silvio Parodi

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Resistance-modifying agents (RMAs) such as Verapamil have been proved to be effective in reversing multi-drug resistance (MDR) in many in vitro assays. In this study we have investigated the efficacy of Dex-Verapamil, the R-isomer of Verapamil, as a chemosensitizer in a murine leukemia cell line (P388) and in its resistant counterpart (P388/Dx) expressing a typical MDR phenotype. We have examined in vivo the effect of the co-administration of Dex-Verapamil and Doxorubicin in mice transplanted with P388 or P388/Dx cells. Mice treated with the combination of Doxorubicin plus RMA had a significant increase in survival rate as compared to controls; however, the effect was modest. On the contrary, in vitro Dex-Verapamil can enhance Doxorubicin cytotoxicity in P388/Dx cells with a much greater effect depending on the treatment scheme used, by increasing the intracellular content of drug. Taken together our data indicate that Dex-Verapamil can indeed increase the sensitivity to Doxorubicin in resistant cells, but the limited efficacy shown in vivo demonstrates that this phenomenon is strongly dependent on the treatment scheme used and on the maintenance of constantly elevated serum levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-276
Number of pages16
JournalAnti-Cancer Drug Design
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1997


  • Dex-Verapamil
  • Doxorubicin
  • Reversing agent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Oncology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


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