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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Immunohistochemical variation of human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 protein in primary breast cancers.

Gemcitabine and capecitabine are nucleoside analogues used in chemotherapy strategies for the treatment of breast cancer. We previously demonstrated that deficiency in hENT1, the most abundant and widely distributed plasma membrane nucleoside transporter in human cells, confers high-level resistance to gemcitabine toxicity in vitro, whereas the relationship between hENT1 activity and capecitabine toxicity is unknown. To determine the relationship between capecitabine cytotoxicity and hENT1 abundance, cultured MDA-MB-435s human mammary carcinoma cells were exposed to graded concentrations of the capecitabine metabolites, 5'-deoxy-5-fluorouridine or 5-fluorouracil, in the presence and absence of nitrobenzylmercaptopurine ribonucleoside (NBMPR), a tight-binding inhibitor of hENT1. The presence of NBMPR reduced the cytotoxic effects of 5'-deoxy-5-fluorouridine, indicating that hENT1 also enabled cellular uptake of this capecitabine metabolite by breast cancer cells. We report here the development of an immunohistochemical method to assess the hENT1 abundance of malignant cells in solid tumors. Frozen sections of 33 primary breast cancers were stained with monoclonal antibodies raised against a synthetic peptide derived from the large intracellular loop of hENT1, and staining intensity was scored on a 0-4+ scale. hENT1 staining intensity varied markedly among breast samples (4 with score 0, 5 with score 1+, 7 with score 2+, 14 with score 3+, 3 with score 4+), suggesting that at least 9 of the tumors were hENT1 deficient. We conclude that because hENT1 deficiency has previously been associated with nucleoside drug resistance, immunohistochemical staining of hENT1 warrants further study as a predictive tool for guiding the appropriate use of gemcitabine and capecitabine in the treatment of breast cancer.[1]


  1. Immunohistochemical variation of human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 protein in primary breast cancers. Mackey, J.R., Jennings, L.L., Clarke, M.L., Santos, C.L., Dabbagh, L., Vsianska, M., Koski, S.L., Coupland, R.W., Baldwin, S.A., Young, J.D., Cass, C.E. Clin. Cancer Res. (2002) [Pubmed]
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