Loss of DNA mismatch repair occurs in many types of tumors. The effect of the loss of DNA mismatch repair activity on sensitivity to cisplatin and a panel of analogues was tested using two pairs of cell lines proficient or deficient in this function. HCT116+ch2, a human colon cancer cell line deficient in hMLH1, was 2.1-fold resistant to cisplatin and 1.3-fold resistant to carboplatin when compared to a subline complemented with chromosome 3 expressing a wild-type copy of hMLH1. Likewise, the human endometrial cancer cell line HEC59, which is deficient in hMSH2, was 1.8-fold resistant to cisplatin and 1.5-fold resistant to carboplatin when compared to a subline complemented with chromosome 2 with a wild-type hMSH2. In contrast to cisplatin and carboplatin, which form the same types of adducts in DNA, there was no difference in sensitivity between the DNA mismatch repair-proficient and -deficient cell lines for oxaliplatin, tetraplatin, transplatin, JM335, or JM216. The formation of protein-DNA complexes that contained hMSH2 and hMLH1 was documented by mobility shift assay when nuclear extracts were incubated with DNA platinated with cisplatin but not with oxaliplatin. These results demonstrate a correlation between failure of the DNA mismatch repair proteins to recognize the platinum adduct and low-level resistance, suggesting a role for the DNA mismatch repair system in generating signals that contribute to the generation of apoptotic activity. They also identify the use of drugs whose adducts are not recognized as a strategy for circumventing resistance due to loss of DNA mismatch repair.
Supported in part by Grant CTR4154 from the Council for Tobacco Research, grants from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and from the Association for the Cure of Cancer of the Prostate, by a Fellowship Award from the Kommission zur Förderung des akademischen Nachwuchses of the University of Zurich to D. F., and by a Fellowship Award from the Ernst Schering Research Foundation, Berlin, and the EMDO Stiftung, Zurich, to S. N. This work was conducted in part by the Clayton Foundation for Research-California Division. R. D. C. and S. B. H. are Clayton Foundation Investigators. D. F. and S. N. contributed equally to this work.