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Topoisomerase II (Topo II) is an essential enzyme that catalyzes the breakage of double-strand DNA and is the target of several effective anticancer drugs, including the epipodophyllotoxins. The regulatory subunits of the cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase are differentially expressed in normal and cancer cells. The RIalpha subunit is overexpressed in cells transformed by transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) or Ha-ras oncogene. It has been shown that murine cells transformed by Ha-ras become hypersensitive to Topo II-targeting anticancer drugs. In this report we have tested whether any correlation exists between the expression of RIalpha protein and cellular sensitivity of Topo II-targeting drugs. Normal human breast MCF-10A cells and their derivatives overexpressing TGF-alpha, Ha-ras, or the different protein kinase subunits were treated with either Topo II inhibitors, such as etoposide, teniposide, or amsacrine, or with drugs which act independently of Topo II, such as bleomycin. Here we show that MCF-10A TGF-alpha and MCF-10A Ha-ras cells overexpress the RIalpha protein and become hypersensitive to epypodophyllotoxins and amsacrine but not to bleomycin. Direct introduction of the RIalpha gene into MCF-10A induces hypersensitivity to Topo II inhibitor drugs. In contrast, the overexpression of the other protein kinase subunits, RIIbeta or Calpha, does not modify the drug sensitivity of MCF-10A cells. No differences in the mRNA/protein content or in the activity of Topo II were found between hypersensitive cells and parental MCF-10A cells, suggesting that RIalpha may influence drug sensitivity via modulation of events downstream of the Topo II-DNA cleavable complex.


Journal article


Clin Cancer Res

Publication Date





49 - 56


Amsacrine, Bleomycin, Breast Neoplasms, Cell Division, Cell Survival, Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinase Type II, Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases, DNA Topoisomerases, Type II, Etoposide, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Genes, ras, Humans, Recombinant Proteins, Teniposide, Topoisomerase II Inhibitors, Transfection, Transforming Growth Factor alpha, Tumor Cells, Cultured