Platinum-based drugs are first-line compounds in the treatment of many solid cancers. Major obstacles are tumors that become resistant and toxic side effects, both largely due to the expression of transporters that mediate the cellular processing of platinum. In this study, we addressed the establishment of cisplatin resistance in the absence of copper transporter ATP7B that has been previously found to be overexpressed in various resistant cells. Cisplatin sensitivity, induction of apoptosis, drug accumulation, and transporter gene expression were determined in hepatoma cell lines. Knockout or overexpression of copper transporter ATP7B did not affect cisplatin sensitivity. Cisplatin resistant cells showed a stably reduced cisplatin accumulation and a downregulation of organic cation transporter 3 (OCT3). In contrast, OCT3 overexpression could reverse resistance. Reduced MT1 expression was detected in the resistant cell line, however transient and highly dependent on the presence of cisplatin. Cross-resistance to copper was also associated with OCT3 downregulation. Our results suggest that a decreased level of OCT3 expression results in resistance to cisplatin and copper. OCT3 may represent a novel target for improved prognosis and anticancer therapy, including HCC.
- Copper cross-resistance