Research Papers:

Selection and characterization of a human ovarian cancer cell line resistant to auranofin

Ida Landini, Andrea Lapucci, Alessandro Pratesi, Lara Massai, Cristina Napoli, Gabriele Perrone, Pamela Pinzani, Luigi Messori, Enrico Mini _ and Stefania Nobili

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:96062-96078. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21708

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Ida Landini1, Andrea Lapucci1, Alessandro Pratesi2, Lara Massai2, Cristina Napoli3, Gabriele Perrone1, Pamela Pinzani4, Luigi Messori2,*, Enrico Mini1,* and Stefania Nobili3,*

1Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Florence, Firenze, Italy

2Department of Chemistry “Ugo Schiff”, University of Florence, Firenze, Italy

3Department of Health Sciences, University of Florence, Firenze, Italy

4Department of Experimental and Clinical Biomedical Sciences, University of Florence, Firenze, Italy

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Enrico Mini, email: [email protected]

Stefania Nobili, email: [email protected]

Luigi Messori, email: [email protected]

Keywords: auranofin; tumour drug resistance; human tumour cell lines; drug effects; gene expression

Received: March 24, 2017    Accepted: August 08, 2017    Published: October 09, 2017


The anti-arthritic drug auranofin exerts also potent antitumour activity in in vitro and in vivo models, whose mechanisms are not yet well defined. From an auranofin-sensitive human ovarian cancer cell line A2780, a highly resistant (>20-fold) subline (A2780/AF-R) was developed and characterized. Marked reduction of gold accumulation occurred in auranofin-resistant A2780 cells. Also, moderately higher thioredoxin reductase activity in A2780/AF-R cells was observed while no changes in intracellular glutathione content occurred. Resistance to auranofin was associated with a low level of cross-resistance to some investigational gold compounds as well as to oxaliplatin and other anticancer drugs with different mode of action (i.e. melphalan, vinblastine, doxorubicin, etoposide, and paclitaxel). Reduced gold accumulation was associated to substantial gene expression changes in various influx (e.g. SLC22A1, SLC47A1, SLCO1B1) and efflux (e.g. ABCB1, ABCC2, ABCC3) transporters. The expression levels of selected proteins (i.e. SLC22A1, SLC47A1, P-gp) were also changed accordingly. These data provide evidence that multiple drug transporters may act as mediators of transport of auranofin and other gold compounds in cancer cells. Further investigation into the molecular mechanisms mediating transport of auranofin and new gold complexes in view of their potential clinical application in the treatment of cancer is warranted.

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