Resistance to paclitaxel therapy is related with Bcl-2 expression through an estrogen receptor mediated pathway in breast cancer

Yoko Tabuchi, Junji Matsuoka, Mehmet Gunduz, Takako Imada, Ryoko Ono, Mitsuya Ito, Takayuki Motoki, Tomoki Yamatsuji, Yasuhiro Shirakawa, Munenori Takaoka, Minoru Haisa, Noriaki Tanaka, Junichi Kurebayashi, V. Craig Jordan, Yoshio Naomoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


Taxanes are approved for the treatment of breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes, following surgery and doxorubicin containing chemotherapy. Taxanes have improved the survival of breast cancer patients, especially in estrogen receptor (ER) negative population in clinical settings. This time we examined the relationship between chemosensitivity to Taxanes and expresson of ERα in breast cancer cell lines. In vitro effects of paclitaxel in 4 ER-positive and 3 ER-negative breast cancer cell lines were investigated by MTT assay. We also investigated members of Bcl-2 family by Western blotting and RT-PCR to clarify their role in paclitaxel resistance both in ER-positive and in ER-negative cells. ER-negative cell lines were more sensitive to paclitaxel than ER-positive cells. ER-negative KPL-4 and ZR-75-30 cells, which were sensitive to paclitaxel, became resistant when they were treated with demethylation agent, 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine. Analysis of proapoptotic (Bax) and antiapoptotic (Bcl-2) molecules suggested that Bcl-2 is likely to have a role in the resistance of ER-positive cells. Bcl-2 expression was increased in a time-dependent manner after treatment of ER-positive cell lines with estrogen (E2). On the other hand, Bcl-2 was not detected in ER-negative cell lines. However, no significant difference was detected for Bax mRNA levels before and after E2 treatment in ER-positive and negative cell lines. Activation of ER gene expression in ER-negative KPL-4 cells by 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine resulted in up-regulation of Bcl-2 mRNA. To support our data, we examined paclitaxel sensitivity in ER-negative MDA-MB-231 and ER stable transfectant cells S30 and JM6. This experiment also showed ER-negative cells were sensitive to paclitaxel but ER-positive cells were resistant to it. These results suggest that ER influenced chemosensitivity to paclitaxel through regulation of Bcl-2 family and regulation of the pathway may be crucial to increase the efficacy of taxanes in ER-positive breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-319
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Bax
  • Bcl-2
  • Breast cancer
  • Chemosensitivity
  • ER
  • Paclitaxel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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