Cross-resistance in the 2',2'-difluorodeoxycytidine (gemcitabine)- resistant human ovarian cancer cell line AG6000 to standard and investigational drugs

A. M. Bergman, G. Giaccone, C. J A Van Moorsel, R. Mauritz, P. Noordhuis, H. M. Pinedo, G. J. Peters

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42 Scopus citations


Gemcitabine (2'-2'-difluorodeoxycytidine; dFdC) is a deoxycytidine analogue which is effective against solid tumours, including lung cancer and ovarian cancer. dFdC requires phosphorylation by deoxycytidine kinase (dCK) for activation. In the human ovarian cancer cell line A2780 and its 30 000- fold dFdC-resistant variant AG6000 (P <0.001), we investigated the cross- resistance profile to several drugs. AG6000, which has a complete dCK deficiency, was approximately 1000-10 000-fold resistant to other deoxynucleoside analogues such as 1-β-D-arabinofuranosyl cytosine, 2-chloro- deoxyadenosine, aza-deoxycytidine and 2',2'-difluorodeoxyguanosine (dFdG) (P <0.001). dFdG can be activated by dCK and deoxyguanosine kinase (dGK), but the latter enzyme was not altered in AG6000 cells. Thus dFdG resistance was only due to dCK deficiency. AG6000 was 1.6- and 46.7-fold resistant to 5- fluorouracil (5-FU) and ZD1694, respectively (the latter was significant; P <0.01), which may be due to the 1.7-fold higher thymidylate synthase (TS) activity, but AG6000 cells were also 2.7-fold resistant to the lipophilic TS inhibitor AG337 (P <0.05). Remarkably, AG6000 cells were 2.5-fold more sensitive to methotrexate (MTX) (P <0.01) than A2780 cells, but 1.6-fold more resistant to trimetrexate (TMQ) (P <0.10). However, no differences in reduced folate carrier activity, folylpolyglutamate synthetase (FPGS) activity and polyglutamation of MTX were found between the cell lines. AG6000 cells were approximately 2 to 7.5-fold more resistant to doxorubicin (DOX), daunorubicin (DAU), epirubicin and vincristine (VCR) (the latter was significant; P <0.02) and approximately 4-fold more resistant to the microtubule inhibitors paclitaxel and docetaxel (P <0.001). Fluorescent activated cell sorter (FACS) analysis revealed no P-glycoprotein (Pgp) or multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP) expression, but less fluorescence of intercalated DAU in AG6000 cells. An approximately 2-fold resistance to the topoisomerase I and II inhibitors etoposide, CPT-11 and SN38 was found in AG6000 cells. Topoisomerase I and IIα RNA expression was decreased in AG6000 cells. AG6000 was 2.4, 2.4, 2.3 and 3.7-fold more resistant to EO9 (P <0.02), mitomycin-C (MMC) (P <0.05), cisplatin (CDDP) (P <0.10) and maphosphamide (MAPH), respectively. DT-diaphorase (DTD), which activates EO9, was 2.2-fold lower in AG6000 cells. CDDP resistance might be related to a reduced retention of DNA adducts in AG6000. However, glutathione levels were equal in A2780 and AG6000 cells. A 24 h exposure to DOX, VCR and paclitaxel at equimolar and equitoxic concentrations, resulted in more double-strand breaks (1.5- to 2-fold) in A2780 than in AG6000 cells. MAPH at 1120 nM and 17 nM of EO9 did not cause DNA damage in either cell line. In conclusion, AG6000 is a cell line highly cross-resistant to a wide variety of drugs. This cross-resistance might be related to altered enzyme activities and/or increased DNA repair. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1974-1983
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-resistance
  • Deoxyguanosine kinase activity (DGK)
  • DNA damage
  • DT-diaphorase activity (DTD)
  • Folylpolyglutamate synthetase (FPGS) activity
  • Gemcitabine
  • Glutathione
  • Methotrexate polyglutamination
  • Methotrexate uptake
  • Topoisomerase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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