The antiprogestatin drug RU 486 was examined for its effect on doxorubicin cellular retention and cytotoxicity in multidrug resistant cells overexpressing P-glycoprotein (P-gp). RU 486 was shown to strongly enhance intracellular accumulation of doxorubicin in both rat hepatoma RHC1 and human leukemia K562 R7 drug-resistant cells but had no action in SDVI drug-sensitive liver cells. The antiprogestatin drug when used at 10 μM, a concentration close to plasma concentrations achievable in humans, was able to hugely increase the sensitivity of RHC1 cells to doxorubicin. RU 486 appeared to prevent the P-gp-mediated doxorubicin efflux out of RHC1 cells and was demonstrated to interfere directly with P-gp drug binding sites since it blocked P-gp labelling by the photoactivable P-gp ligand azidopine. These results thus demonstrate that RU 486 can downmodulate anticancer drug resistance through inhibition of P-gp function. © 1994.
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