Basis of observed resistance of L1210 leukemia in mice: methotrexate, 6-thioguanine, 6-methylmercaptopurine riboside, 6-mercaptopurine, 5-fluorouracil, and 1-beta-D-arabinofuranosylcytosine administered in different combinations
Schmid et al. (Cancer Treat. Rep., 60: 23-27, 1976) reported rapid emergence of resistance of L1210 leukemia cells in mice to two schedules of six antimetabolites and much slower development of resistance to a third schedule. Such rapid development of resistance to six drugs presents a striking puzzle, and one whose solution gives some insights into the basis for general emergence of drug resistance. Our approach was to examine the consequences of applying these drugs singly or in pairs and,
... m the results, to infer interactions in six-drug combinations. 6-Thioguanine (TG) and 6-mercaptopurine are the key drugs since, as shown by Schmid et al., resistance of leukemic cells appeared to six-drug combinations at the same time as did resistance to the purine analogs; sensitivity to the other drugs remained. We demonstrated that cells which emerged were resistant to both of the purine analogs, owing to a deficiency of the activating enzyme hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase. TG resistance arose in the presence of TG because of an overgrowth of TG-resistance mutants that were present as one cell in 10(4) in the original L1210 population. L1210 cultures were prepared free of TG-resistant mutants. With these cells, TG administered shortly after inoculation was very effective in delaying their death. The cells that finally grew out were still TG sensitive. Simultaneous treatment with all the drugs greatly delayed appearance of TG resistance in vivo and in vitro. Methotrexate alone was responsible for this result, owing to its ability preferentially to kill TG-resistant cells. The other three drugs were not effective in delaying TG resistance. Methotrexate was effective only if it was added daily; one large injection was ineffective. Therefore, TG and methotrexate added daily for 6 days (simultaneous schedule) was the most effective drug regimen tested.