P-glycoprotein (P-gp), lung resistance-related protein (LRP) and multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP) expression, and blast cell intracellular daunorubicin accumulation (IDA) were evaluated in 95 previously untreated cases of adult acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) using flow cytometry. Forty-five out of 95 (47%) patients were P-gp positive (+), 12/66 (18%) were LRP+ and 11/66 (17%) were MRP+. Eighteen out of 66 (28%) patients showed a simultaneous multidrug resistance (MDR)-related protein expression higher than controls for more than one protein, while 24/66 (36%) cases did not overexpress any protein. Twenty-one out of 24 (87%) cases overexpressing at least one MDR-related protein had a defect in accumulating daunorubicin into their blast cells, while only 4/24 (16%) cases who did not overexpress any protein had similar features. The complete remission rates were similar in MDR-positive and -negative (-) patients but relapses within 6 months were more frequent in P-gp+ cases, and therefore the disease-free survival duration was shorter in P-gp+ than in P-gp- patients (P = 0.01). The number of MRP+ and/or LRP+ cases was too small to be able to draw any conclusion on their role in affecting or predicting therapy outcome. In conclusion, P-gp overexpression associated with a defect in daunorubicin accumulation is a frequent feature in adult ALL at onset and seems to be related to poorer therapy outcome and, consequently, a shorter disease-free survival. LRP and MRP overexpression seems to be a rare event and no conclusion can be drawn on its prognostic role.
- Adult acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
- Lung resistance-related protein
- Multidrug resistance-associated protein
ASJC Scopus subject areas