A number of cellular proteins, including P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and Multiple drug Resistance Protein (MRP-1), act as drug efflux pumps and are important in the resistance of many cancers to chemotherapy. We previously reported that a small number of NSAIDs could inhibit the activity of MRP-1. We chose sulindac as a candidate agent for further investigation as it has the most favourable efficacy and toxicity profile of the agents available for a potential specific MRP-1 inhibitor. NCI H460 cells expressed MRP-1 protein (by Western blot) and also the toxicity of doxorubicin (a substrate of MRP-1) could be potentiated in this line using non-toxic concentrations of the MRP-1 substrate/inhibitor sulindac. These cells were implanted in nude mice and the animals divided into various groups which were administered doxorubicin and/or sulindac. Sulindac was shown to significantly potentiate the tumour growth inhibitor activity of doxorubicin in this MRP-1-overexpressing human tumour xenograft model. Sulindac may be clinically useful as an inhibitor of the MRP-1 cancer resistance mechanism.
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