P-glycoprotein expression in brain tumors

John W. Henson, Carlos Cordon-Cardo, Jerome B. Posner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Overexpression of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) in cancer cells can result in resistance to several chemotherapy agents (multidrug resistance) including doxorubicin and vincristine. The drugs to which resistance develops also penetrate the blood brain barrier poorly. P-gp expression in brain capillary endothelial cells suggests that P-gp may restrict drug entry into brain tumors and thus be another mechanism of drug resistance. To seek evidence for either of these roles in the drug resistance of brain tumors, we examined the location of expression of P-gp in 49 brain tumors, using an anti-P-gp mouse monoclonal antibody and immunohistochemistry. P-gp expression was observed in tumor cells of two glioblastomas and a meningeal sarcoma but not in low-grade primary or metastatic tumors. In low-grade primary tumors, P-gp was present in all vascular endothelial cells. In the vascular endothelial cells of anaplastic primary brain tumors and brain metastases, P-gp expression was heterogeneous or absent. These findings are consistent with a role for P-gp in the resistance of some brain tumors to chemotherapy agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • brain tumor
  • immunohistochemistry
  • multidrug resistance
  • P-glycoprotein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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