Effect of p-glycoprotein on flavopiridol sensitivity

S. A. Boerner, M. E. Tourne, S. H. Kaufmann, K. C. Bible

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Flavopiridol is the first potent inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) to enter clinical trials. Little is known about mechanisms of resistance to this agent. In order to determine whether P-glycoprotein (Pgp) might play a role in flavopiridol resistance, we examined flavopiridol sensitivity in a pair of Chinese hamster ovary cell lines differing with respect to level of Pgp expression. The IC 50s of flavopiridol in parental AuxB1 (lower Pgp) and colchicine-selected CH RC5 (higher Pgp) cells were 90.2 ± 6.6 nM and 117 ± 2.3 nM, respectively (P < 0.01), suggesting that Pgp might have a modest effect on flavopiridol action. Consistent with this hypothesis, pretreatment with either quinidine or verapamil (inhibitors of Pgp-mediated transport) sensitized CH RC5 cells to the antiproliferative effects of flavopiridol. Because of concern that colony forming assays might not accurately reflect cytotoxicity, we also examined flavopiridol-treated cells by trypan blue staining and flow cytometry. These assays confirmed that flavopiridol was less toxic to cells expressing higher levels of Pgp. Further experiments revealed that flavopiridol inhibited the binding of [ 3H]-azidopine to Pgp in isolated membrane vesicles, but only at high concentrations. Collectively, these results identify flavopiridol as a weak substrate for Pgp.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1391-1396
Number of pages6
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 18 2001


  • Chemotherapy
  • Cyclin-dependent kinase
  • Drug resistance
  • Flavonoids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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