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Published June 14, 1984 | public
Journal Article

Amplification of specific DNA sequences correlates with multi-drug resistance in Chinese hamster cells


Mammalian cells selected for resistance to certain cytotoxic drugs frequently develop cross-resistance to a broad spectrum of other drugs unrelated in structure to the original selective agent. This phenomenon constitutes a major problem in cancer chemotherapy. Multi-drug resistance arises from decreased intracellular drug accumulation, apparently due to an alteration of the plasma membrane. The observation of double minute chromosomes or homogeneously staining regions in some of the multi-drug-resistant cell lines suggests that gene amplification underlies this phenomenon. We have used the technique of DNA renaturation in agarose gels to detect, compare and clone amplified DNA sequences in Adriamycin- and colchicine-resistant sublines of Chinese hamster cells. We show that both Adriamycin- and colchicine-resistant cells contain amplified DNA fragments, some of which are amplified in both of these independently derived cell lines. Furthermore, loss of the multi-drug resistance phenotype on growth in the absence of drugs correlates with the loss of amplified DNA. These results strongly suggest that the DNA sequences which are amplified in common in multi-drug-resistant cell lines include the gene(s) responsible for a common mechanism of multi-drug resistance in these cells. We have cloned one of the commonly amplified DNA fragments and show that the degree of amplification of this fragment in the cells correlates with the degree of their drug resistance.

Additional Information

© 1984 Nature Publishing Group. Received 23 January: accepted 2 April 1984. We thank Carolyn Gorka for technical assistance and Cathy Thurmond for typing the manuscript. This work was supported by NIH grants CA33297 (A.V.), CA18662 (H.T.A.), CA17575 (D.E.H.) and CA28608 (N.H.). I.B.R. is the recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Cancer Society.

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