C421A polymorphism in the human breast cancer resistance protein gene is associated with low expression of Q141K protein and low-level drug resistance

Yasuo Imai, Minoru Nakane, Kumie Kage, Satomi Tsukahara, Etsuko Ishikawa, Takashi Tsuruo, Yoshio Miki, Yoshikazu Sugimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

362 Citations (Scopus)


Breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) confers multidrug resistance to cancer cells against agents such as SN-38 (an active metabolite of irinotecan), mitoxantrone, and topotecan. Among 59 human tumor cell lines tested, 6 cell lines, A549, NCI-H460, KM-12, HT-29, OVCAR-5, and RPMI8226, showed high BCRP expression. BCRP cDNA was isolated from 11 cancer cell lines and three variant cDNAs [G34A substituting Met for Val-12 (V12M), C421A substituting Lys for Gln- 141 (Q141K), and 944-949 deletion lacking Ala-315 and Thr-316 (Δ315-6)] were identified. G34A and C421A variants were polymorphisms, and 944-949 deletion was a splicing variant. C421A BCRP-transfected PA317 cells showed markedly decreased protein expression and low-level drug resistance compared with wild-type BCRP-transfected cells when transfectants expressed similar levels of BCRP mRNA. G34A or 944-949- deleted BCRP-transfected PA317 cells showed similar or somewhat lower protein expression and drug resistance compared with wild-type BCRP-transfected cells. Of 124 healthy Japanese volunteers, 67 were wild-type, 48 were heterozygous, and 9 were homozygous for the C421A allele. These results suggest that some people possess the C421A polymorphic BCRP gene and express low amounts of Q141K BCRP. In addition to that, C376T polymorphism in exon 4 substituting stop codon for Gln-126 was found in 3 of the 124 general Japanese population. This C376T polymorphism may also have high impact because active BCRP protein will not be expressed from the C376T allele. Therefore, people with C376T and/or C421A polymorphisms may express low amounts of BCRP, and this low BCRP expression might result in hypersensitivity of normal cells to such anticancer drugs as irinotecan and mitoxantrone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-616
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular cancer therapeutics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Jun 1


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this