Biochemical correlates of temozolomide sensitivity in pediatric solid tumor xenograft models

David S. Middlemas, Clinton F. Stewart, Mark N. Kirstein, Catherine Poquette, Henry S. Friedman, Peter J. Houghton, Thomas P. Brent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


The antitumor activity of the methylating agent temozolomide has been evaluated against a panel of 17 xenografts derived from pediatric solid tumors. Temozolomide was administered p.o. daily for five consecutive days at a dose level of 66 mg/kg. Courses of treatment were repeated every 21 days for three cycles. Tumor lines were classified as having high, intermediate, or low sensitivity, determined by complete responses, partial responses, or stable disease, respectively. Overall, temozolomide induced complete responses in five lines and partial responses in three additional tumor lines, giving objective regressions in 47% of xenograft lines. Analysis of temozolomide plasma systemic exposure indicated that this dose level was relevant to exposure achieved in patients. Tumors were analyzed by immunoblotting for levels of O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) and two mismatch repair proteins, MLH-1 and MSH-2. Tumors classified as having high or intermediate sensitivity had low or undetectable MGMT and expressed detectable MLH-1 and MSH-2 proteins. Tumors classified as having low sensitivity had either (a) high MGMT or (b) low or undetectable MGMT but were deficient in MLH-1. The relationship between p53 and response to temozolomide was also examined. In vitro temozolomide did not induce p21(cip1) in p53-competent NB-1643 neuroblastoma cells. Suppression of p53 function in NB1643 clones through stable expression of a trans dominant negative p53 (NB1643p53(TDN)) did not confer temozolomide resistance. Similarly, tumor sensitivity to temozolomide did not segregate with p53 genotype or p53 functional status. These results indicate that MGMT is the primary mechanism for temozolomide resistance, but in the absence of MGMT, proficient mismatch repair determines sensitivity to this agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)998-1007
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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