Inhibition of ABCB1 (MDR1) and ABCB4 (MDR3) expression by small interfering RNA and reversal of paclitaxel resistance in human ovarian cancer cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • Ovarian cancer is currently the most lethal gynecologic malignancy in developed countries, and paclitaxel is a cornerstone in the treatment of this malignancy. Unfortunately, the efficacy of paclitaxel is limited by the development of drug resistance. Clinical paclitaxel resistance is often associated with ABCB1 (MDR1) overexpression, and in vitro paclitaxel resistance typically demonstrates overexpression of the ABCB1 gene. In this study, we demonstrate that paclitaxel-resistant cell lines overexpress both ABCB1 and ABCB4 (MDR3). To evaluate the role of these transporters in paclitaxel-resistant ovarian cancer cells, small interference RNAs (siRNAs) were used to target ABCB1 and ABCB4 RNA in the paclitaxel-resistant SKOV-3TR and OVCAR8TR ovarian cancer cell lines. Treatment of these lines with either chemically synthesized siRNAs or transfection with specific vectors that express targeted siRNAs demonstrated decreased mRNA and protein levels of ABCB1 or ABCB4. 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assays of siRNA-treated cells demonstrated 7- to 12.4-fold reduction of paclitaxel resistance in the lines treated with the synthesized siRNA of ABCB1 and 4.7- to 7.3-fold reduction of paclitaxel resistance in the cell lines transfected with siRNA of ABCB1 expressing vectors. ABCB4 siRNA-treated cell lines showed minor reduction in paclitaxel resistance. These results indicate that siRNA targeted to ABCB1 can sensitize paclitaxel-resistant ovarian cancer cells in vitro and suggest that siRNA treatment may represent a new approach for the treatment of ABCB1-mediated drug resistance.

author list (cited authors)

  • Duan, Z., Brakora, K. A., & Seiden, M. V.

citation count

  • 125

publication date

  • July 2004