Transfer of multidrug resistance among acute myeloid leukemia cells via extracellular vesicles and their microRNA cargo

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The treatment of acute leukemia is still challenging due in part to the development of resistance and relapse. This chemotherapeutics resistance is established by clonal selection of resistant variants of the cancer cells. Recently, a horizontal transfer of chemo-resistance among cancer cells via extracellular vesicles (EVs) has been suggested. The aim of this research was to investigate the role of EVs in chemo-resistance in acute myeloid leukemia. For this purpose, the sensitive strain of the promyelocytic leukemia HL60 cell line was studied along with its multi-resistant strain, HL60/AR that overexpresses the multidrug resistance protein 1 (MRP-1). A chemo-resistance transfer between the two strains was established by treating HL60 cells with EVs generated by HL60/AR. This study reveals that EVs from HL60/AR can interact with HL60 cells and transfer at least partially, their chemo-resistance. EVs-treated cells begin to express MRP-1 probably due to a direct transfer of MRP-1 and nucleic acids transported by EVs. In this context, two microRNAs were highlighted for their high differential expression in EVs related to sensitive or chemo-resistant cells: miR-19b and miR-20a. Because circulating microRNAs are found in all biological fluids, these results bring out their potential clinical use as chemo-resistance biomarkers in acute myeloid leukemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-76
Number of pages7
JournalLeukemia Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Chemo-resistance
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Horizontal transfer
  • Nucleic acids

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