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Open Access Research article

TTFields alone and in combination with chemotherapeutic agents effectively reduce the viability of MDR cell sub-lines that over-express ABC transporters

Rosa S Schneiderman1, Esther Shmueli1, Eilon D Kirson1 and Yoram Palti12*

Author Affiliations

1 NovoCure Ltd., MATAM Advanced Technology Centre, Haifa 31905, Israel

2 Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel

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BMC Cancer 2010, 10:229  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-229

Published: 23 May 2010

Abstract

Background

Exposure of cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents may result in reduced sensitivity to structurally unrelated agents, a phenomenon known as multidrug resistance, MDR. The purpose of this study is to investigate cell growth inhibition of wild type and the corresponding MDR cells by Tumor Treating Fields - TTFields, a new cancer treatment modality that is free of systemic toxicity. The TTFields were applied alone and in combination with paclitaxel and doxorubicin.

Methods

Three pairs of wild type/MDR cell lines, having resistivity resulting from over-expression of ABC transporters, were studied: a clonal derivative (C11) of parental Chinese hamster ovary AA8 cells and their emetine-resistant sub-line EmtR1; human breast cancer cells MCF-7 and their mitoxantrone-resistant sub lines MCF-7/Mx and human breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231 and their doxorubicin resistant MDA-MB-231/Dox cells. TTFields were applied for 72 hours with and without the chemotherapeutic agents. The numbers of viable cells in the treated cultures and the untreated control groups were determined using the XTT assay. Student t-test was applied to asses the significance of the differences between results obtained for each of the three cell pairs.

Results

TTFields caused a similar reduction in the number of viable cells of wild type and MDR cells. Treatments by TTFields/drug combinations resulted in a similar increased reduction in cell survival of wild type and MDR cells. TTFields had no effect on intracellular doxorubicin accumulation in both wild type and MDR cells.

Conclusions

The results indicate that TTFields alone and in combination with paclitaxel and doxorubicin effectively reduce the viability of both wild type and MDR cell sub-lines and thus can potentially be used as an effective treatment of drug resistant tumors.