Melatonin-induced methylation of the ABCG2/BCRP promoter as a novel mechanism to overcome multidrug resistance in brain tumour stem cells

Published on Tuesday, 28 October 2014


BACKGROUND: Current evidence indicates that a stem cell-like sub-population within malignant glioblastomas, that overexpress members of the adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette (ABC) family transporters, is responsible for multidrug resistance and tumour relapse. Eradication of the brain tumour stem cell (BTSC) compartment is therefore essential to achieve a stable and long-lasting remission.

METHODS: Melatonin actions were analysed by viability cell assays, flow cytometry, quantitative PCR for mRNA expression, western blot for protein expression and quantitative and qualitative promoter methylation methods.

RESULTS: Combinations of melatonin and chemotherapeutic drugs (including Temozolomide, current treatment for malignant gliomas) have a synergistic toxic effect on BTSCs and A172 malignant glioma cells. This effect is correlated with a downregulation of the expression and function of the ABC transporter ABCG2/BCRP. Melatonin increased the methylation levels of the ABCG2/BCRP promoter and the effects on ABCG2/BCRP expression and function were prevented by preincubation with a DNA methyltransferase inhibitor.

CONCLUSION: Our results point out a possible relationship between the downregulation of ABCG2/BCRP function and the synergistic toxic effect of melatonin and chemotherapeutic drugs. Melatonin could be a promising candidate to overcome multidrug resistance in the treatment of glioblastomas, and thus improve the efficiency of current therapies.



About this publication.


See also:

- About Melatonin;

- Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme (grade IV – WHO 2007): a case of complete objective response achieved by means of the concomitant administration of Somatostatin and Octreotide – Retinoids – Vitamin E – Vitamin D3 – Vitamin C – Melatonin – D2 R agonists (Di Bella Method – DBM) associated with Temozolomide.