Temozolomide induces the production of epidermal growth factor to regulate MDR1 expression in glioblastoma cells

Jessian L. Munoz, Vivian Rodriguez-Cruz, Steven J. Greco, Vipul Nagula, Kathleen W. Scotto, Pranela Rameshwar

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60 Scopus citations


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) commonly resists the frontline chemotherapy treatment temozolomide. The multidrug resistance gene (MDR1) and its protein, P-glycoprotein (P-gp), are associated with chemoresistance. This study investigated the mechanisms underlying MDR1-mediated resistance by GBM to temozolomide. P-gp trafficking was studied by flow cytometry and Western blot analysis. MDR1 expression was analyzed by real-time PCR and reporter gene assays. AP-1 interaction with MDR1 was studied by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. EGF production was analyzed by ELISA, EGFR signaling was determined by Western blot analysis, and in vivo response to erlotinib and/or temozolomide was studied in nude mice. During the early phase of temozolomide treatment, intracellular P-gp was trafficked to the cell membrane, followed by conformational change into active P-gp. At the later phase, gene transcription of MDR1 was induced by temozolomide-mediated production of EGF. EGF activated ERK1/2-JNK-AP-1 cofactors (c-jun and c-fos). An inhibitor of EGFR kinase (erlotinib) given to nude mice with GBM prevented temozolomide-induced resistance. The results identified an essential role for activated EGFR in the resistance of GBM to temozolomide. Temozolomide resistance occurred through a biphasic response; first, by a conformational change in P-gp into the active form and, second, by releasing EGF, which caused autocrine stimulation of GBM cells to induce MDR1. Pharmacologic inhibition of EGFR kinase blunted the ability of GBM cells to resist temozolomide. These findings mayexplain reports on the common occurrence of mutant EGFR (EGFRvIII) and EGFR expansion in the resistance of GBM cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2399-2411
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular cancer therapeutics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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