Expression of the multidrug-resistance 1 (MDR1) gene and prognosis in human pancreatic cancer

Zhao Lu, Jörg Kleeff, Shailesh Shrikhande, Arthur Zimmermann, Murray Korc, Helmut Friess, Markus W. Büchler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


Multidrug-resistance 1 (MDR1) encodes a 170-kDa transmembrane glycoprotein (P-glycoprotein), which acts as a drug-efflux pump. In the present study, we analyzed the expression of MDR1/P-glycoprotein in human pancreatic cancer and correlated the results with clinical parameters. Pancreatic cancer tissue samples were obtained from 67 patients (30 female, 37 male) who underwent surgery. Normal pancreatic tissues obtained from 15 previously healthy organ donors (4 female, 11 male) served as controls. MDR1 mRNA levels were analyzed by Northern blotting, and the exact site of MDR1 mRNA expression was determined by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. Northern blot analysis indicated that in comparison with the normal pancreas, MDR1 mRNA levels were only increased 1.4-fold (p = 0.03) in the pancreatic cancer samples. However, there was a 2.9-fold (p < 0.01) increase in MDR1 mRNA levels when only the samples that exhibited increased expression (38%) were analyzed. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemical analysis showed that MDR1 was highly expressed in the cancer cells of these samples. Statistical analysis revealed that patients with high MDR1/P-glycoprotein expression had a shorter postoperative survival time compared with patients with weak to moderate expression of MDR1. On the basis of in situ hybridization, survival in the intense group was 11.6 (n = 12) versus 14.2 months (n = 42) in the mild to moderate group. On the basis of immunohistochemistry, survival in the intense group was 7.5 months (n = 10) versus 14.1 months (n = 40) in the mild to moderate group. Surprisingly, survival of patients with high expression of MDR1/P-glycoprotein was not significantly different from that of patients without detectable MDR1/P-glycoprotein expression. These findings suggest that both strong expression of MDR1/P-glycoprotein and lack of expression seem to influence tumor growth via known and yet unknown mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-247
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 17 2000


  • Chemotherapy
  • Multidrug resistance
  • P-glycoprotein
  • Pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Endocrinology

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  • Cite this

    Lu, Z., Kleeff, J., Shrikhande, S., Zimmermann, A., Korc, M., Friess, H., & Büchler, M. W. (2000). Expression of the multidrug-resistance 1 (MDR1) gene and prognosis in human pancreatic cancer. Pancreas, 21(3), 240-247.