Multi-drug resistance in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

William R. Friedenberg, Susan K. Spencer, Cynthia Musser, Thomas F. Hogan, Keith A. Rodvold, Daniel A. Rushing, Joseph J. Mazza, Duane A. Tewksbury, James J. Marx

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20 Scopus citations


We evaluated 45 chronic lymphocyte leukemia (CLL) patients for the presence of multi-drug resistance (MDR by the ex vivo techniques: 1) a functional assay utilizing doxorubicin (dox) retention with modulation; 2) a cytotoxicity assay (MTT) with modulation; 3) and four monoclonal antibodies. Ex vivo tests were correlated with disease stage and prior treatment, and were repeated as patients became resistant to alkylating agents, fludarabine and VAD chemotherapy (infusion of vincristine, dox, and oral dexamethasone). The majority of patients (64.4%) were in early stage and were untreated (62.2%). P-glycoprotein (p-gp 170) was detected most frequently by the monoclonal antibody MRK 16 (48%) and by functional modulation of dox retention by PSC-833 (40.6%) and by functional modulation of the MTT assay with vincristine (0.29) and dox (0.39) with PSC-833 at 1.0 μg/mL. Functional modulation of dox retention with PSC-833 was significantly associated with stage, but not with either the MTT assay or any of the monoclonal antibodies. None of the tests correlated with prior chlorambucil treatment. Correlation of dox retention with the monoclonal antibodies was mild to moderate and became stronger following chlorambucil treatment. Three patients who became resistant to VAD were found to express p-gp 170. We conclude that MDR can frequently be detected in patients with CLL. Furthermore, the expression of p-gp 170 increases with advancing stage, but not prior alkylating agent therapy. The functional expression of p-gp 170 increases with advancing stage and prior treatment and correlates well with monoclonal antibody detection (especially MRK-16). Patients who become resistant to VAD more frequently express p-gp 170 by a variety of techniques, PSC-833 is a more potent modulator of MDR than cyclosporin-A (CsA) ex vivo, and correlates better with stage of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
JournalLeukemia and Lymphoma
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Multi-drug resistance
  • P-gp 170 (p-glycoprotein)
  • PSC-833

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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  • Cite this

    Friedenberg, W. R., Spencer, S. K., Musser, C., Hogan, T. F., Rodvold, K. A., Rushing, D. A., Mazza, J. J., Tewksbury, D. A., & Marx, J. J. (1999). Multi-drug resistance in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Leukemia and Lymphoma, 34(1-2), 171-178.