The ability of tumor cells to develop simultaneous resistance to structurally different cytotoxic drugs constitutes a major problem in cancer chemotherapy. It was previously demonstrated that multidrug-resistant Chinese hamster cell lines contain an amplified, transcriptionally active DNA sequence designated mdr. This report presents evidence that multidrug-resistant sublines of human KB carcinoma cells, selected for resistance to either colchicine, vinblastine, or Adriamycin (doxorubicin), display amplification of two different DNA sequences homologous to the hamster mdr gene. Segments of the human mdr DNA sequences, designated mdr1 and mdr2, have been cloned. mdr1 sequences were amplified in all of the highly drug-resistant sublines and were expressed as a poly(A)+ RNA species of 4.5 kilobases that was detected in the resistant cells but not in the parental cell line. No expression of mdr2 sequences was detected. mdr2 sequences were coamplified with mdr1 in some of the multidrug-resistant sublines and, in two independently derived cell lines, underwent very similar rearrangements. The data suggest that the mdr1 gene is involved in multidrug resistance in human cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4538-4542
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1986


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