Imaging drug resistance with radiolabeled molecules.
A major obstacle to successful cancer chemotherapy is drug resistance. Multidrug resistance (MDR) is often seen with chemotherapeutic agents such as anthracycline derivatives, vinca alkaloids and taxanes. Multiple aspects of cellular biochemistry have been implicated in the MDR process. Cellular mechanisms of resistance are due to the presence of efflux pumps, P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and multiple resistance-associated protein (MRP), which belong to the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) family of transporters. Another form of drug resistance is involved in the chemotherapy of cancers with alkylating agents such as nitrosourea derivatives and nitrogen mustards. The cytotoxicity of these agents is primarily due to alkylation of the DNA guanine residues at their O6-position, which leads, via a cascade of events, to DNA strand breaks. The DNA repair protein, alkylguanine-DNA alkyl transferase (AGT) removes the alkyl groups from the lesions stoichiometrically to a cysteine in its active site. This process is irreversible and results in the degradation of the protein and its recovery is entirely from de novo synthesis. Noninvasive methodologies for monitoring the transport activity of these efflux pumps and determining tumor content of AGT could serve as critical tools for optimizing chemotherapeutic protocols on a patient-specific basis and gaining an understanding of the dynamics of resistance in living patients. In this review, we will describe the efforts made to date to synthesize radioactive probes of chemotherapy resistance and their use to quantitate these transporters and DNA repair protein by radionuclide imaging.
Vaidyanathan, G; Zalutsky, MR
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