Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Induction of cyclophosphamide-resistance by aldehyde-dehydrogenase gene transfer

  1. M Magni,
  2. S Shammah,
  3. R Schiro,
  4. W Mellado,
  5. R Dalla-Favera, and
  6. AM Gianni
  1. Department of Pathology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Abstract

The identification of genes inducing resistance to anticancer chemotherapeutic agents and their introduction into hematopoietic cells represents a promising approach to overcome bone marrow toxicity, the limiting factor for most high-dose chemotherapy regimens. Because resistance to cyclophosphamide has been correlated with increased levels of expression of the aldehyde-dehydrogenase (ALDH1) gene in tumor cell lines in vitro, we tested whether ALDH1 overexpression could directly induce cyclophosphamide resistance. We have cloned a full- length human ALDH1 cDNA and used retroviral vectors to transduce it into human (U937) and murine (L1210) hematopoietic cell lines that were then tested for resistance to maphosphamide, an active analogue of cyclophosphamide. Overexpression of the ALDH1 gene resulted in a significant increases in cyclophosphamide resistance in transduced L1210 and U937 cells (50% inhibition concentration [IC50], approximately 13 mumol/L). The resistant phenotype was specifically caused by ALDH1 overexpression as shown by its reversion by disulfiram, a specific ALDH1 inhibitor. ALDH1 transduction into peripheral blood human hematopoietic progenitor cells also led to significant increases (4- to 10-fold; IC50, approximately 3 to 4 mumol/L) in cyclophosphamide resistance in an in vitro colony-forming assay. These findings indicate that ALDH1 overexpression is sufficient to induce cyclophosphamide resistance in vitro and provide a basis for testing the efficacy of ALDH1 gene transduction to protect bone marrow cells from high-dose cyclophosphamide in vivo.