J Cancer 2016; 7(14):2085-2092. doi:10.7150/jca.16117

Research Paper

The role of copper transporter ATP7A in platinum-resistance of esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC)

Zhuang-hua Li1†, Rongjie Zheng2†, Jing-tang Chen1, Jun Jia1, Miaozhen Qiu3,4✉

1. Department of Medical Oncology, Dongguan People's Hospital, Dongguan, Guangdong, 523059, China.
2. Department of Pharmacy, Guangdong No 2. People's hospital, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510317, China.
3. Department of Medical Oncology, Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center; State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China; Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510060, China;
4. Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA
† Contributed equally


Purpose: Platinum derivatives, such as cisplatin (DDP), carboplatin and oxaliplatin, are widely used components of modern cancer chemotherapy including esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC). However, their roles are limited by the impact of intrinsic/acquired resistance mechanisms on tumor responses. Recent studies have shown that the mammalian copper transporters CTR1, ATP7A and ATP7B are involved in cisplatin-resistance to some cancers.

Methods: The cytotoxicities of DDP in different cell lines were determined using the MTT assay. To determine whether knockdown the expression of ATP7A could reverse the platinum-resistance of EC109/DDP cells or not, we used RNA interference system to explore the role of ATP7A in platinum resistance.

Results: We found that DDP-resistant cell sublines EC109/DDP (8.490 folds) showed cross-resistance to carboplatin (5.27 folds) and oxaliplatin (4.12 folds). ATP7A expressions in DDP-resistant cell sublines (EC109/DDP) were much higher than DDP-sensitive cell lines (EC109) at both mRNA and protein levels. ATP7A targeted small interfering RNA duplex at 100nM final concentration added into DDP-resistant cancer cells (EC109/DDP) markedly inhibited the expression of ATP7A as determined by Western blot (83.0%) and partially reversed DDP-resistance (37.09%), moreover, it also increased cell apoptosis at different DDP concentrations. Conclusions: These findings indicate that ATP7A high expression plays an important role in platinum-resistance of ESCC. This study sheds light on platinum resistance in ESCC patients and may have implications for therapeutic reversal of drug resistance.

Keywords: ATP7A, Esophageal squamous cell cancer, Platinum, Resistance

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How to cite this article:
Li Zh, Zheng R, Chen Jt, Jia J, Qiu M. The role of copper transporter ATP7A in platinum-resistance of esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC). J Cancer 2016; 7(14):2085-2092. doi:10.7150/jca.16117. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v07p2085.htm