Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 1901–1908 | Cite as

Reversal of efflux of an anticancer drug in human drug-resistant breast cancer cells by inhibition of protein kinase Cα (PKCα) activity

Original Article


P-glycoprotein (Pgp) is a 170-kDa transmembrane protein that mediates the efflux of anticancer drugs from cells. Pgp overexpression has a distinct role in cells exhibiting multidrug resistance (MDR). We examined reversal of drug resistance in human MDR breast cancer cells by inhibition of protein kinase Cα (PKCα) activity, which is associated with Pgp-mediated efflux of anticancer drugs. PKCα activity was confirmed by measurement of phosphorylation levels of a PKCα-specific peptide substrate (FKKQGSFAKKK-NH2), showing relatively higher basal activity in drug-resistant MCF-7/ADR cells (84 %) than that in drug-sensitive MCF-7 cells (63 %). PKCα activity was effectively suppressed by the PKC inhibitor, Ro-31-7549, and reversal of intracellular accumulation of doxorubicin was observed by inhibition of PKCα activity in MCF-7/ADR cells compared with their intrinsic drug resistance. Importantly, increased accumulation of doxorubicin could enhance the therapeutic efficacy of doxorubicin in MDR cells significantly. These results suggest a potential for overcoming MDR via inhibition of PKCα activity with conventional anticancer drugs.


Drug resistance P-glycoprotein Protein kinase C α Protein kinase inhibitor Anticancer drug 



We thank Professor Masahiro Goto (Kyushu University) for assistance in CLSM studies and Dr. Ick Chan Kwon for the kind gift of the MCF-7/ADR cell line. We also thank Ms. Sigemi Terakubo and Ms. Ninyo Okamura (St. Marianna University School of Medicine) for technical assistance. This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, and a grant from the KRIBB Research Initiative Program (Korean Biomedical Scientist Fellowship Program), Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Republic of Korea (C.W.K.).

Conflicts of interest


Supplementary material

13277_2015_3963_MOESM1_ESM.doc (118 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 118 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chan Woo Kim
    • 1
    • 9
  • Daisuke Asai
    • 2
  • Jeong-Hun Kang
    • 3
  • Akihiro Kishimura
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Takeshi Mori
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Yoshiki Katayama
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of EngineeringKyushu UniversityNishi-kuJapan
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologySt. Marianna University School of MedicineMiyamae-kuJapan
  3. 3.Division of Biopharmaceutics and PharmacokineticsNational Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center Research InstituteSuitaJapan
  4. 4.Graduate School of Systems Life SciencesKyushu UniversityNishi-kuJapan
  5. 5.Center for Future ChemistryKyushu UniversityNishi-kuJapan
  6. 6.International Research Center for Molecular SystemsKyushu UniversityNishi-kuJapan
  7. 7.Center for Advanced Medical InnovationKyushu UniversityHigashi-kuJapan
  8. 8.Innovation Center for Medical Redox NavigationKyushu UniversityHigashi-kuJapan
  9. 9.Laboratory of Molecular Imaging and Nanomedicine, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and BioengineeringNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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