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We have isolated a Chinese hamster ovary cell line, designated ADR-1, which exhibits hypersensitivity to a range of drugs which are thought to inhibit the action of the enzyme topoisomerase II. These include anthracyclines, other classes of intercalating agents, and the epipodophyllotoxin, etoposide. No significant sensitivity to radiation, or to mono- and bifunctional alkylating agents was seen, although mild cross-sensitivity to the radiomimetic agent bleomycin was observed. We have monitored the level of DNA strand breaks induced by topoisomerase II inhibitors in ADR-1 cells using alkaline elution. At equimolar Adriamycin (doxorubicin) doses, more protein-associated DNA strand breaks are induced in ADR-1 cells than in wild-type cells. This enhanced level of drug-induced strand breaks does not appear to be a function of increased drug uptake as both lines accumulate similar levels of radiolabeled daunomycin. Both the rate of repair of strand breaks and the final percentage of strand breaks rejoined was equivalent in the 2 cell lines. These results are consistent with an enhancement in the level of topoisomerase II-dependent DNA breakage in ADR-1 cells following exposure to topoisomerase II inhibitors. We have previously reported the isolation of 2 bleomycin-sensitive Chinese hamster ovary cell lines, BLM-1 and BLM-2 (C. N. Robson et al., Cancer Res. 45:5304-5309, 1985). While BLM-1 exhibited cross-sensitivity only to Adriamycin, BLM-2 was shown to be hypersensitive not only to Adriamycin out also to certain alkylating agents and to ionizing radiation. In this paper, we show that both BLM-1 and BLM-2 also exhibit mild cross-sensitivity to a range of topoisomerase II inhibitors. These results indicate that intercalating agents and epipodophyllotoxins exert their cytotoxicity via common mechanisms and suggest that the maintenance of normal levels of cellular resistance to these agents requires the products of several different genes.


Journal article


Cancer Res

Publication Date





1560 - 1565


Animals, Antineoplastic Agents, Bleomycin, Cell Line, Cell Survival, Cricetinae, Cricetulus, DNA Damage, DNA Repair, Doxorubicin, Drug Resistance, Female, Intercalating Agents, Phenotype, Podophyllotoxin, Topoisomerase II Inhibitors