Mismatch repair deficiency is associated with resistance to DNA minor groove alkylating agents

G. Colella, S. Marchini, M. D'Incalci, R. Brown, M. Broggini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mismatch DNA repair deficiency is associated with resistance to certain major groove alkylating agents including methylating agents and cisplatin. We have now studied the relevance of mismatch repair alterations to the cytotoxicity induced by drugs which alkylate N3 adenines in the minor groove of DNA. We have used the mismatch repair defective human colocarcinoma cell line HCT-116 which has a mutation in the hMLH1 gene, and a subline where hMLH1 expression is restored by chromosome 3 transfer (HCT-116+ch3). We have tested three alkylating minor groove binders (tallimustine, carzelesin and CC1065) and one non-covalent minor groove binder (PNU 151807). The HCT-11G+ch3 subline was more sensitive than the parental line to the treatment with the three alkylating minor groove binders, while the non-alkylating compound had a similar activity in both cell lines. Further support for mismatch repair being involved in sensitivity of the minor groove alkylators is that two cisplatin-resistant sublines of the human ovarian adenocarcinoma cell line A2780 (A2780/CP70 and A2780/MCP-1) are defective in hMLH1 expression and are more resistant to these agents than the parental mismatch repair proficient cells. Furthermore, the restoration of hMLH1 activity in the A2780/CP70 cell line, by introduction of chromosome 3, was associated with an increased sensitivity to the three alkylating minor groove binders. Again, the non-covalent minor groove binder was equally effective in mismatch repair deficient and proficient clones. The data indicate that mismatch repair deficiency mediated by loss of hMLH1 expression is associated not only with drug-resistance to major groove binders, but also to minor groove binders. However, loss of mismatch repair does not mediate resistance to the non-covalent minor groove binder PNU 151807.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-343
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Alkylating agents
  • Minor groove binders
  • Mismatch repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Mismatch repair deficiency is associated with resistance to DNA minor groove alkylating agents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this