Gene Summary

Gene:ABCB5; ATP-binding cassette, sub-family B (MDR/TAP), member 5
Aliases: ABCB5beta, EST422562, ABCB5alpha
Summary:ABCB5 belongs to the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter superfamily of integral membrane proteins. These proteins participate in ATP-dependent transmembrane transport of structurally diverse molecules ranging from small ions, sugars, and peptides to more complex organic molecules (Chen et al., 2005 [PubMed 15760339]).[supplied by OMIM, Mar 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:ATP-binding cassette sub-family B member 5
Source:NCBIAccessed: 27 February, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (12)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 28 February 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Transcription Factors
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Spheroids, Cellular
  • Skin Cancer
  • CD Antigens
  • RNA Interference
  • Cancer Stem Cells
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Chromosome 7
  • Tumor Markers
  • P-Glycoprotein
  • Enzymologic Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glycoproteins
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Western Blotting
  • Peptides
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Eye Cancer
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Melanocytes
  • K562 Cells
  • Messenger RNA
  • Y-Box-Binding Protein 1
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Melanoma
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Stem Cells
  • Uveal Neoplasms
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Breast Cancer
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Cell Membrane
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Doxorubicin
  • Up-Regulation
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Drug Resistance
Tag cloud generated 27 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: ABCB5 (cancer-related)

Wilson BJ, Saab KR, Ma J, et al.
ABCB5 maintains melanoma-initiating cells through a proinflammatory cytokine signaling circuit.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(15):4196-207 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
The drug efflux transporter ABCB5 identifies cancer stem-like cells (CSC) in diverse human malignancies, where its expression is associated with clinical disease progression and tumor recurrence. ABCB5 confers therapeutic resistance, but other functions in tumorigenesis independent of drug efflux have not been described that might help explain why it is so broadly overexpressed in human cancer. Here we show that in melanoma-initiating cells, ABCB5 controls IL1β secretion, which serves to maintain slow cycling, chemoresistant cells through an IL1β/IL8/CXCR1 cytokine signaling circuit. This CSC maintenance circuit involved reciprocal paracrine interactions with ABCB5-negative cancer cell populations. ABCB5 blockade induced cellular differentiation, reversed resistance to multiple chemotherapeutic agents, and impaired tumor growth in vivo. Together, our results defined a novel function for ABCB5 in CSC maintenance and tumor growth.

Farawela HM, Khorshied MM, Kassem NM, et al.
The clinical relevance and prognostic significance of adenosine triphosphate ATP-binding cassette (ABCB5) and multidrug resistance (MDR1) genes expression in acute leukemia: an Egyptian study.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2014; 140(8):1323-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: Multidrug resistance (MDR1) represents a major obstacle in the chemotherapeutic treatment of acute leukemia (AL). Adenosine triphosphate ATP-binding cassette (ABCB5) and MDR1 genes are integral membrane proteins belonging to ATP-binding cassette transporters superfamily.
PURPOSE: The present work aimed to investigate the impact of ABCB5 and MDR1 genes expression on the response to chemotherapy in a cohort of Egyptian AL patients. The study included 90 patients: 53 AML cases and 37 ALL cases in addition to 20 healthy volunteers as controls.
METHODS: Quantitative assessment of MDR1 and ABCB5 genes expression was performed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Additional prognostic molecular markers were determined as internal tandem duplications of the FLT3 gene (FLT3-ITD) and nucleophosmin gene mutation (NPM1) for AML cases, and mbcr-abl fusion transcript for B-ALL cases.
RESULTS: In AML patients, ABCB5 and MDR1 expression levels did not differ significantly between de novo and relapsed cases and did not correlate with the overall survival or disease-free survival. AML patients were stratified according to the studied genetic markers, and complete remission rate was found to be more prominent in patients having low expression of MDR1 and ABCB5 genes together with mutated NPM1 gene. In ALL patients, ABCB5 gene expression level was significantly higher in relapsed cases and MDR1 gene expression was significantly higher in patients with resistant disease.
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the results obtained by the current study provide additional evidence of the role played by these genes as predictive factors for resistance of leukemic cells to chemotherapy and hence treatment outcome.

Sztiller-Sikorska M, Koprowska K, Majchrzak K, et al.
Natural compounds' activity against cancer stem-like or fast-cycling melanoma cells.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(3):e90783 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Accumulating evidence supports the concept that melanoma is highly heterogeneous and sustained by a small subpopulation of melanoma stem-like cells. Those cells are considered as responsible for tumor resistance to therapies. Moreover, melanoma cells are characterized by their high phenotypic plasticity. Consequently, both melanoma stem-like cells and their more differentiated progeny must be eradicated to achieve durable cure. By reevaluating compounds in heterogeneous melanoma populations, it might be possible to select compounds with activity not only against fast-cycling cells but also against cancer stem-like cells. Natural compounds were the focus of the present study.
METHODS: We analyzed 120 compounds from The Natural Products Set II to identify compounds active against melanoma populations grown in an anchorage-independent manner and enriched with cells exerting self-renewing capacity. Cell viability, cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, gene expression, clonogenic survival and label-retention were analyzed.
FINDINGS: Several compounds efficiently eradicated cells with clonogenic capacity and nanaomycin A, streptonigrin and toyocamycin were effective at 0.1 µM. Other anti-clonogenic but not highly cytotoxic compounds such as bryostatin 1, siomycin A, illudin M, michellamine B and pentoxifylline markedly reduced the frequency of ABCB5 (ATP-binding cassette, sub-family B, member 5)-positive cells. On the contrary, treatment with maytansine and colchicine selected for cells expressing this transporter. Maytansine, streptonigrin, toyocamycin and colchicine, even if highly cytotoxic, left a small subpopulation of slow-dividing cells unaffected. Compounds selected in the present study differentially altered the expression of melanocyte/melanoma specific microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) and proto-oncogene c-MYC.
CONCLUSION: Selected anti-clonogenic compounds might be further investigated as potential adjuvants targeting melanoma stem-like cells in the combined anti-melanoma therapy, whereas selected cytotoxic but not anti-clonogenic compounds, which increased the frequency of ABCB5-positive cells and remained slow-cycling cells unaffected, might be considered as a tool to enrich cultures with cells exhibiting melanoma stem cell characteristics.

Saeed M, Khalid H, Sugimoto Y, Efferth T
The lignan, (-)-sesamin reveals cytotoxicity toward cancer cells: pharmacogenomic determination of genes associated with sensitivity or resistance.
Phytomedicine. 2014; 21(5):689-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
(-)-Sesamin is a lignan present in sesam oil and a number of medicinal plants. It exerts various pharmacological effects, such as prevention of hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and carcinogenesis. Moreover, (-)-sesamin has chemopreventive and anticancer activity in vitro and in vivo. Multidrug resistance (MDR) of tumors leads to fatal treatment outcome in many patients and novel drugs able to kill multidrug-resistant cells are urgently needed. P-glycoprotein (MDR1/ABCB1) is the best known ATP-binding cassette (ABC) drug transporter mediating MDR. ABCB5 is a close relative to ABCB1, which also mediates MDR. We found that the mRNA expressions of ABCB1 and ABCB5 were not related to the 50% inhibition concentrations (IC50) for (-)-sesamin in a panel of 55 cell lines of the National Cancer Institute, USA. Furthermore, (-)-sesamin inhibited ABCB1- or ABCB5-overexpressing cells with similar efficacy than their drug-sensitive parental counterparts. In addition to ABC transporter-mediated MDR, we attempted to identify other molecular determinants of (-)-sesamin resistance. For this reason, we performed COMPARE and hierarchical cluster analyses of the transcriptome-wide microarray-based mRNA expression of the NCI cell panel. Twenty-three genes were identified, whose mRNA expression correlated with the IC50 values for (-)-sesamin. These genes code for proteins of different biological functions, i.e. ribosomal proteins, components of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, proteins involved in RNA metabolism, protein biosynthesis, or glucose and fatty acid metabolism. Subjecting this set of genes to cluster analysis showed that the cell lines were assembled in the resulting dendrogram according to their responsiveness to (-)-sesamin. In conclusion, (-)-sesamin is not involved in MDR mediated by ABCB1 or ABCB5 and may be valuable to bypass chemoresistance of refractory tumors. The microarray expression profile, which predicted sensitivity or resistance of tumor cells to (-)-sesamin consisted of genes, which do not belong to the classical resistance mechanisms to established anticancer drugs.

Mathieu MG, Miles AK, Ahmad M, et al.
The helicase HAGE prevents interferon-α-induced PML expression in ABCB5+ malignant melanoma-initiating cells by promoting the expression of SOCS1.
Cell Death Dis. 2014; 5:e1061 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
The tumour suppressor PML (promyelocytic leukaemia protein) regulates several cellular pathways involving cell growth, apoptosis, differentiation and senescence. PML also has an important role in the regulation of stem cell proliferation and differentiation. Here, we show the involvement of the helicase HAGE in the transcriptional repression of PML expression in ABCB5+ malignant melanoma-initiating cells (ABCB5+ MMICs), a population of cancer stem cells which are responsible for melanoma growth, progression and resistance to drug-based therapy. HAGE prevents PML gene expression by inhibiting the activation of the JAK-STAT (janus kinase-signal transducers and activators of transcription) pathway in a mechanism which implicates the suppressor of cytokine signalling 1 (SOCS1). Knockdown of HAGE led to a significant decrease in SOCS1 protein expression, activation of the JAK-STAT signalling cascade and a consequent increase of PML expression. To confirm that the reduction in SOCS1 expression was dependent on the HAGE helicase activity, we showed that SOCS1, effectively silenced by small interfering RNA, could be rescued by re-introduction of HAGE into cells lacking HAGE. Furthermore, we provide a mechanism by which HAGE promotes SOCS1 mRNA unwinding and protein expression in vitro. Finally, using a stem cell proliferation assay and tumour xenotransplantation assay in non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency mice, we show that HAGE promotes MMICs-dependent tumour initiation and tumour growth by preventing the anti-proliferative effects of interferon-α (IFNα). Our results suggest that the helicase HAGE has a key role in the resistance of ABCB5+ MMICs to IFNα treatment and that cancer therapies targeting HAGE may have broad implications for the treatment of malignant melanoma.

Wozniak M, Szulawska-Mroczek A, Hartman ML, et al.
Parthenolide complements the cell death-inducing activity of doxorubicin in melanoma cells.
Anticancer Res. 2013; 33(8):3205-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Melanoma is characterized by high resistance to chemotherapy. The aim of this study was to investigate combined effects of doxorubicin and parthenolide on melanoma cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thiazolyl blue tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and flow cytometry were used to evaluate viability. The p53 levels and Poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) cleavage were assessed by western blot. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) were used to evaluate changes in nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activity and gene expression, respectively.
RESULTS: Both drugs reduced the viability of melanoma cells and induced apoptosis. Expression of the ATP-binding cassette sub-family B member-5 (ABCB5) transporter was enhanced by doxorubicin. Doxorubicin induced activity of p53 and NF-κB. Parthenolide markedly reduced the constitutive and doxorubicin-induced NF-κB activity measured as the nuclear NF-κB, and expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP9) and it had no effect on p53.
DISCUSSION: Doxorubicin and parthenolide affected distinct pathways in melanoma, and parthenolide was capable of combating some pro-survival effects of doxorubicin in the combined treatment. This provides a rationale for in vivo investigation of this drug combination.

Lin JY, Zhang M, Schatton T, et al.
Genetically determined ABCB5 functionality correlates with pigmentation phenotype and melanoma risk.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013; 436(3):536-42 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
ABCB5 is a multidrug resistance (MDR) member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily of active transporters and represents a marker for chemoresistant malignant melanoma-initiating cells. ABCB5 expression is closely linked to tumorigenicity and progression of diverse human malignancies, including melanoma, and is functionally required for tumor growth. Here, we genotyped 585 melanoma cases and 605 age-matched controls for 44 ABCB5 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to span a region covering 108.2kb of the gene on the 7p21.1 locus. We identified three SNPs that were associated with decreased melanoma risk in additive models: rs10231520 (OR: 0.83, 95% CI: 0.70-0.98), rs17817117 (OR: 0.82, 95% CI: 0.68-0.98), and rs2301641 (OR: 0.83, 95% CI: 0.69-0.98). Additionally, the rs2301641 SNP was associated with non-red compared to red hair color (OR: 0.38, 95% CI: 0.14-1.03) in controls. Twelve human melanoma cell lines were genotyped for the rs2301641 SNP, which encodes a non-synonymous ABCB5 amino acid change (K115E). Functional studies revealed that the E form associated with lower melanoma risk correlated significantly with decreased ABCB5 transport capacity (P<0.01) and increased melanin production (P<0.05). Our results identify novel associations of the ABCB5 K115E polymorphism with human pigmentation phenotype and melanoma risk and point to potential functional roles of ABCB5 in melanomagenesis. Moreover, they provide a first example that functional variation in a prospective cancer stem cell marker can be associated with disease risk for the corresponding malignancy.

Govindan R, Ding L, Griffith M, et al.
Genomic landscape of non-small cell lung cancer in smokers and never-smokers.
Cell. 2012; 150(6):1121-34 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
We report the results of whole-genome and transcriptome sequencing of tumor and adjacent normal tissue samples from 17 patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). We identified 3,726 point mutations and more than 90 indels in the coding sequence, with an average mutation frequency more than 10-fold higher in smokers than in never-smokers. Novel alterations in genes involved in chromatin modification and DNA repair pathways were identified, along with DACH1, CFTR, RELN, ABCB5, and HGF. Deep digital sequencing revealed diverse clonality patterns in both never-smokers and smokers. All validated EFGR and KRAS mutations were present in the founder clones, suggesting possible roles in cancer initiation. Analysis revealed 14 fusions, including ROS1 and ALK, as well as novel metabolic enzymes. Cell-cycle and JAK-STAT pathways are significantly altered in lung cancer, along with perturbations in 54 genes that are potentially targetable with currently available drugs.

Lai CY, Schwartz BE, Hsu MY
CD133+ melanoma subpopulations contribute to perivascular niche morphogenesis and tumorigenicity through vasculogenic mimicry.
Cancer Res. 2012; 72(19):5111-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Tumor cell subpopulations that express cancer stem cell markers such as CD133 (prominin1) or ABCB5 are thought to be crucial for tumor initiation and heterogeneity, but their biological significance in melanoma has been controversial. Here, we report that CD133(+) and ABCB5(+) subpopulations are colocalized in melanomas in perivascular niches that contain CD144 (VE-cadherin)(+) melanoma cells forming vessel-like channels, a phenomenon termed vasculogenic mimicry (VM). RNAi-mediated attenuation of CD133 established its critical function in morphogenesis of these perivascular niches as well as in melanoma tumorigenicity. Niche-associated genes CD144 and ABCB5 were downregulated in tumors derived from CD133 knockdown (KD) melanoma cells compared with controls. CD133KD cells also lacked the ability to form CD144(+) VM-like channels in a manner that was associated with a depletion of the ABCB5(+) cell subpopulation. Finally, CD133 KD cells exhibited poorer tumor growth in vivo. Taken together, our findings corroborate models in which CD133(+)/ABCB5(+) melanoma cells reside in a complex anastomosing microvascular niche that encompasses CD144(+) VM channels as well as authentic endothelial cell-lined blood vessels. Further, they indicate that CD133(+) cells act as stem-like cells, which drive tumor growth by promoting VM and the morphogenesis of a specialized perivascular niche in melanoma.

Grimm M, Krimmel M, Polligkeit J, et al.
ABCB5 expression and cancer stem cell hypothesis in oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Eur J Cancer. 2012; 48(17):3186-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The vast majority of oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC). The effectiveness of adjuvant cytostatic chemotherapy for OSCC is frequently restricted due to an inducible cellular mechanism called multidrug resistance (MDR) and a putative cancer stem cell (CSC) compartment in human carcinogenesis expressing multidrug efflux pumps. The novel human ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter ABCB5 [subfamily B (MDR/TAP) member 5] acts as an energy-dependent drug efflux transporter and marks tumour cells of a putative CSC compartment. However, to date, there is no link between ABCB5 expression and OSCC.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Expression of ABCB5 was analysed in OSCC specimen (n=191) and cancer cell lines (BICR3, BICR56) by immunohistochemistry, real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis and western blotting. Scanned images were digitally analysed using ImageJ and the immunomembrane plug-in. ABCB5 expression on protein level was correlated with clinical characteristics and impact on survival. ABCB5 was co-labelled with CD44 in immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence double labelling experiments. Expression subgroups were identified by receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analysis.
RESULTS: High ABCB5 expression was significantly associated with tumour progression and recurrence of the tumour. Multivariate analysis demonstrated high ABCB5 expression as an independent prognostic factor (p=0.0004). Immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence double labelling experiments revealed ABCB5 expression by CD44+ cancer cells. ABCB5 specificity was confirmed by western blot and RT-PCR analysis.
CONCLUSIONS: For the first time, this study provides evidence that ABCB5 expression in OSCC might be associated with tumour formation, metastasis and a putative CSC compartment. One of the principal mechanisms for protecting putative cancer stem cells is through the expression of multifunctional efflux transporters from the ABC gene family, like ABCB5. This provides one mechanism in which putative cancer stem cells could survive and may lead to tumour relapse. Knowledge of expression profiles of ABC transporters and other genes involved in MDR will likely help therapeutic optimisation for cancer patients in clinic. However, this hypothesis requires further in vitro and in vivo studies.

Chartrain M, Riond J, Stennevin A, et al.
Melanoma chemotherapy leads to the selection of ABCB5-expressing cells.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(5):e36762 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Metastatic melanoma is the most aggressive skin cancer. Recently, phenotypically distinct subpopulations of tumor cells were identified. Among them, ABCB5-expressing cells were proposed to display an enhanced tumorigenicity with stem cell-like properties. In addition, ABCB5(+) cells are thought to participate to chemoresistance through a potential efflux function of ABCB5. Nevertheless, the fate of these cells upon drugs that are used in melanoma chemotherapy remains to be clarified. Here we explored the effect of anti-melanoma treatments on the ABCB5-expressing cells. Using a melanoma xenograft model (WM266-4), we observed in vivo that ABCB5-expressing cells are enriched after a temozolomide treatment that induces a significant tumor regression. These results were further confirmed in a preliminary study conducted on clinical samples from patients that received dacarbazine. In vitro, we showed that ABCB5-expressing cells selectively survive when exposed to dacarbazine, the reference treatment of metastatic melanoma, but also to vemurafenib, a new inhibitor of the mutated kinase V600E BRAF and other various chemotherapeutic drugs. Our results show that anti-melanoma chemotherapy might participate to the chemoresistance acquisition by selecting tumor cell subpopulations expressing ABCB5. This is of particular importance in understanding the relapses observed after anti-melanoma treatments and reinforces the interest of ABCB5 and ABCB5-expressing cells as potential therapeutic targets in melanoma.

Luo Y, Ellis LZ, Dallaglio K, et al.
Side population cells from human melanoma tumors reveal diverse mechanisms for chemoresistance.
J Invest Dermatol. 2012; 132(10):2440-50 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Side population (SP) cells are identified as cells capable of excluding the fluorescent Hoechst dye and anticancer drugs, and it represents hematopoietic stem cells and chemoresistant cells from several solid tumors. In this study, we confirmed the presence of SP cells in tumors from melanoma patients. Melanoma SP cells overexpressed ATP-binding-cassette (ABC) transporters, ABCB1 and ABCB5. We generated a direct in vivo xenograft model, and demonstrated that SP cells were resistant to paclitaxel, a substrate of ABCB1, both in vitro and in vivo. However, melanoma SP cells were also resistant to temozolomide, which is not a substrate for ABC transporters, through IL-8 upregulation. In addition, gene profiling studies identified three signaling pathways (NF-κB, α6-β4-integrin, and IL-1) as differentially upregulated in melanoma SP cells, and there was a significant increase of PCDHB11 and decrease of FUK and TBX2 in these cells. Therefore, we provide evidence that SP is an enriched source of chemoresistant cells in human melanomas, and suggest that the selected genes and signaling pathways of SP cells may be a potential target for effective melanoma therapies. To our knowledge, this is a previously unreported study to isolate SP cells from melanoma patients and to investigate the gene expression profiling of these cells.

Setia N, Abbas O, Sousa Y, et al.
Profiling of ABC transporters ABCB5, ABCF2 and nestin-positive stem cells in nevi, in situ and invasive melanoma.
Mod Pathol. 2012; 25(8):1169-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
Distinct ABCB5 forms and ABCF2, members of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily of transporters, are normally expressed in various tissues and cells, and enhanced expression of both has been demonstrated in select cancers. In melanoma cell lines, gene expression profiling of ABC transporters has revealed enhanced expression of melanocyte-specific ABCB5 and ABCF2 proteins. Given this, our primary aim was to ascertain immunohistochemical expression of the ABC transporters ABCB5 and ABCF2 and, the stem cell marker, nestin in a spectrum of benign and malignant nevomelanocytic proliferations, including nevi (n=30), in situ (n=31) and invasive (n=24) primary cutaneous melanomas to assess their role in the stepwise development of malignancy. In addition, their expression was compared with established melanoma prognosticators to ascertain their utility as independent prognosticators. A semiquantitative scoring system was utilized by deriving a cumulative score (based on percentage positivity cells and intensity of expression) and statistical analyses was carried out using analysis of variance with linear contrasts. Mean cumulative score in nevi, in situ and invasive melanoma were as follows: 3.8, 4.4 and 5.3 for ABCB5, respectively (P<0.005 for all), and 4.6, 4.6 and 5.3 for nestin, respectively (P=not significant for all). No appreciable expression of ABCF2 was noted in any of the groups. While ulcerated lesions of melanoma demonstrated lower levels of expression of ABCB5 and nestin than non-ulcerated lesions, and nestin expression was lower in lesions with mitoses >1, after controlling for the presence of ulceration and mitotic activity, the expression of both proteins did not significantly correlate with known melanoma prognosticators. The gradual increase in the expression of ABCB5 from benign nevus to in situ to invasive melanoma suggests that it plays a role in melanomagenesis. On the basis of our findings, a prospective study with follow-up data is required to ascertain the utility of ABCB5 as a therapeutic target.

Linley AJ, Mathieu MG, Miles AK, et al.
The helicase HAGE expressed by malignant melanoma-initiating cells is required for tumor cell proliferation in vivo.
J Biol Chem. 2012; 287(17):13633-43 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Malignant melanoma-initiating cells (MMIC) are a subpopulation of cells responsible for melanoma tumor growth and progression. They are defined by the expression of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) subfamily B member 5 (ABCB5). Here, we identified a critical role for the DEAD-box helicase antigen (HAGE) in ABCB5+ MMIC-dependent tumorigenesis and show that HAGE-specific inactivation inhibits melanoma tumor growth mediated by this tumor-initiating population. Knockdown of HAGE led to a significant decrease in RAS protein expression with a concomitant decrease in activation of the AKT and ERK signaling pathways implicated to play an important role in melanoma progression. To confirm that the reduction in NRAS (Neuroblastoma RAS) expression was dependent on the HAGE helicase activity, we showed that NRAS, effectively silenced by siRNA, could be rescued by reintroduction of HAGE in cells lacking HAGE. Furthermore, we provide a mechanism by which HAGE promotes NRAS unwinding in vitro. We also observed using tumor transplantation in Non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency mice that the HAGE knockdown in a ABCB5+ melanoma cell line displayed a significant decrease in tumor growth and compared with the control. Our results suggest that the helicase HAGE is required for ABCB5+ MMIC-dependent tumor growth through promoting RAS protein expression and that cancer therapies targeting HAGE helicase may have broad applications for treating malignant melanoma and potentially other cancer types.

Kumar SM, Liu S, Lu H, et al.
Acquired cancer stem cell phenotypes through Oct4-mediated dedifferentiation.
Oncogene. 2012; 31(47):4898-911 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
There is enormous interest to target cancer stem cells (CSCs) for clinical treatment because these cells are highly tumorigenic and resistant to chemotherapy. Oct4 is expressed by CSC-like cells in different types of cancer. However, function of Oct4 in tumor cells is unclear. In this study, we showed that expression of Oct4 gene or transmembrane delivery of Oct4 protein promoted dedifferentiation of melanoma cells to CSC-like cells. The dedifferentiated melanoma cells showed significantly decreased expression of melanocytic markers and acquired the ability to form tumor spheroids. They showed markedly increased resistance to chemotherapeutic agents and hypoxic injury. In the subcutaneous xenograft and tail vein injection assays, these cells had significantly increased tumorigenic capacity. The dedifferentiated melanoma cells acquired features associated with CSCs such as multipotent differentiation capacity and expression of melanoma CSC markers such as ABCB5 and CD271. Mechanistically, Oct4-induced dedifferentiation was associated with increased expression of endogenous Oct4, Nanog and Klf4, and global gene expression changes that enriched for transcription factors. RNAi-mediated knockdown of Oct4 in dedifferentiated cells led to diminished CSC phenotypes. Oct4 expression in melanoma was regulated by hypoxia and its expression was detected in a sub-population of melanoma cells in clinical samples. Our data indicate that Oct4 is a positive regulator of tumor dedifferentiation. The results suggest that CSC phenotype is dynamic and may be acquired through dedifferentiation. Oct4-mediated tumor cell dedifferentiation may have an important role during tumor progression.

Yang M, Li W, Fan D, et al.
Expression of ABCB5 gene in hematological malignances and its significance.
Leuk Lymphoma. 2012; 53(6):1211-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
We examined ABCB5 gene expression using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in leukemia cells from 29 patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), 24 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), 42 with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), 22 with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), 17 with lymphoma and 10 with multiple myeloma (MM). It was confirmed that expression of the ABCB5 gene is highly increased in B-precursor ALL and French-American-British (FAB) M1 and M2 types of AML and lymphoma. The ABCB5 gene is expressed more highly in patients with relapsed or refractory disease than in patients with drug sensitive acute leukemia. Furthermore, there was an evident positive correlation between ABCB5 mRNA expression and MDR1 mRNA expression, but no correlation with MRP mRNA expression or BCRP mRNA expression. Quantification of the ABCB5 gene by real-time PCR offers particular promise as a prognostic marker and a marker for drug resistance in acute leukemia. Our findings raise the possibility that ABCB5 may be responsible for both the progression and chemotherapeutic refractoriness of advanced acute leukemia, and that ABCB5-targeted approaches might therefore represent novel and translationally relevant therapeutic strategies for drug resistance in leukemia.

Cigna E, Gradilone A, Sorvillo V, Scuderi N
ABCB5 in peripheral blood of a patient affected by multiple primary malignancies.
Ann Ital Chir. 2011 Jan-Feb; 82(1):49-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Multiple primary neoplasm malignancies syndrome (MPMN), is the presence of two or more abnormal growths of tissue, occurring simultaneously. Although the number of second malignancies is increasing, due to several factors, the presence of triple or quadruple malignancies is still very rare.
PATIENT AND METHODS: We report a case of a 78-year-old man, with six primaries: a prostatic adenocarcinoma, breast cancer, two melanoma, a basal cell carcinoma, and a lymphoma in a four years period.
RESULTS: The onset of MPMN is probably caused by a mutation of DNA repair genes, probably the TP53 gene. Common features of this syndrome are early rise and low tendency to metastatize. We reviewed the markers of staminality for various tumors: RNA expression of ALDH1, CD 133, and ABCB 5, extracted from the sentinel lymph node (SLN) and from the peripheral blood of the patient, was verified.
CONCLUSION: People with multiple tumors represent a segment of the cancer-survivor population, which is continuously increasing (10%). Several genetic mutation can be involved in this kind of population. Our patient was positive for the expression of ABCB5, a marker for staminality of melanoma, in periphal blood.

Moitra K, Scally M, McGee K, et al.
Molecular evolutionary analysis of ABCB5: the ancestral gene is a full transporter with potentially deleterious single nucleotide polymorphisms.
PLoS One. 2011; 6(1):e16318 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: ABCB5 is a member of the ABC protein superfamily, which includes the transporters ABCB1, ABCC1 and ABCG2 responsible for causing drug resistance in cancer patients and also several other transporters that have been linked to human disease. The ABCB5 full transporter (ABCB5.ts) is expressed in human testis and its functional significance is presently unknown. Another variant of this transporter, ABCB5 beta possess a "half-transporter-like" structure and is expressed in melanoma stem cells, normal melanocytes, and other types of pigment cells. ABCB5 beta has important clinical implications, as it may be involved with multidrug resistance in melanoma stem cells, allowing these stem cells to survive chemotherapeutic regimes.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We constructed and examined in detail topological structures of the human ABCB5 protein and determined in-silico the cSNPs (coding single nucleotide polymorphisms) that may affect its function. Evolutionary analysis of ABCB5 indicated that ABCB5, ABCB1, ABCB4, and ABCB11 share a common ancestor, which began duplicating early in the evolutionary history of chordates. This suggests that ABCB5 has evolved as a full transporter throughout its evolutionary history.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: From our in-silco analysis of cSNPs we found that a large number of non-synonymous cSNPs map to important functional regions of the protein suggesting that these SNPs if present in human populations may play a role in diseases associated with ABCB5. From phylogenetic analyses, we have shown that ABCB5 evolved as a full transporter throughout its evolutionary history with an absence of any major shifts in selection between the various lineages suggesting that the function of ABCB5 has been maintained during mammalian evolution. This finding would suggest that ABCB5 beta may have evolved to play a specific role in human pigment cells and/or melanoma cells where it is predominantly expressed.

Frank NY, Schatton T, Kim S, et al.
VEGFR-1 expressed by malignant melanoma-initiating cells is required for tumor growth.
Cancer Res. 2011; 71(4):1474-85 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Melanoma growth is driven by malignant melanoma-initiating cells (MMIC) identified by expression of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) member ABCB5. ABCB5(+) melanoma subpopulations have been shown to overexpress the vasculogenic differentiation markers CD144 (VE-cadherin) and TIE1 and are associated with CD31(-) vasculogenic mimicry (VM), an established biomarker associated with increased patient mortality. Here we identify a critical role for VEGFR-1 signaling in ABCB5(+) MMIC-dependent VM and tumor growth. Global gene expression analyses, validated by mRNA and protein determinations, revealed preferential expression of VEGFR-1 on ABCB5(+) tumor cells purified from clinical melanomas and established melanoma lines. In vitro, VEGF induced the expression of CD144 in ABCB5(+) subpopulations that constitutively expressed VEGFR-1 but not in ABCB5(-) bulk populations that were predominantly VEGFR-1(-). In vivo, melanoma-specific shRNA-mediated knockdown of VEGFR-1 blocked the development of ABCB5(+) VM morphology and inhibited ABCB5(+) VM-associated production of the secreted melanoma mitogen laminin. Moreover, melanoma-specific VEGFR-1 knockdown markedly inhibited tumor growth (by > 90%). Our results show that VEGFR-1 function in MMIC regulates VM and associated laminin production and show that this function represents one mechanism through which MMICs promote tumor growth.

Cheung ST, Cheung PF, Cheng CK, et al.
Granulin-epithelin precursor and ATP-dependent binding cassette (ABC)B5 regulate liver cancer cell chemoresistance.
Gastroenterology. 2011; 140(1):344-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Chemotherapy is used to treat unresectable liver cancer with marginal efficacy; this might result from hepatic cancer cells with stem cell and chemoresistant features. Gene expression profiling studies have shown that hepatic cancer cells express granulin-epithelin precursor (GEP); we investigated its role in hepatic cancer stem cell functions and chemoresistance.
METHODS: The effects of GEP and drug transporter signaling on chemoresistance were investigated in hepatic cancer stem cells. We analyzed the expression patterns of 142 clinical samples from liver tumors, adjacent nontumorous liver tissue, and liver tissue from patients who did not have cancer.
RESULTS: GEP regulated the expression of the adenosine triphosphate-dependent binding cassette (ABC)B5 drug transporter in liver cancer cells. Chemoresistant cells that expressed GEP had increased levels of ABCB5; suppression of ABCB5 sensitized the cells to doxorubicin uptake and apoptosis. Most cells that expressed GEP and ABCB5 also expressed the hepatic cancer stem cell markers CD133 and EpCAM; blocking ABCB5 reduced their expression. Expression levels of GEP and ABCB5 were correlated in human liver tumor samples. ABCB5 levels were increased in liver cancer cells compared with nontumor liver tissue from patients with cirrhosis or hepatitis, or normal liver tissue. ABCB5 expression was associated with the recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma after partial hepatectomy.
CONCLUSIONS: Expression of GEP and ABCB5 in liver cancer stem cells is associated with chemoresistance and reduced survival times of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Reagents designed to target these proteins might be developed as therapeutics and given in combination with chemotherapy to patients with liver cancer.

Yang JY, Ha SA, Yang YS, Kim JW
p-Glycoprotein ABCB5 and YB-1 expression plays a role in increased heterogeneity of breast cancer cells: correlations with cell fusion and doxorubicin resistance.
BMC Cancer. 2010; 10:388 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cancer cells recurrently develop into acquired resistance to the administered drugs. The iatrogenic mechanisms of induced chemotherapy-resistance remain elusive and the degree of drug resistance did not exclusively correlate with reductions of drug accumulation, suggesting that drug resistance may involve additional mechanisms. Our aim is to define the potential targets, that makes drug-sensitive MCF-7 breast cancer cells turn to drug-resistant, for the anti-cancer drug development against drug resistant breast cancer cells.
METHODS: Doxorubicin resistant human breast MCF-7 clones were generated. The doxorubicin-induced cell fusion events were examined. Heterokaryons were identified and sorted by FACS. In the development of doxorubicin resistance, cell-fusion associated genes, from the previous results of microarray, were verified using dot blot array and quantitative RT-PCR. The doxorubicin-induced expression patterns of pro-survival and pro-apoptotic genes were validated.
RESULTS: YB-1 and ABCB5 were up regulated in the doxorubicin treated MCF-7 cells that resulted in certain degree of genomic instability that accompanied by the drug resistance phenotype. Cell fusion increased diversity within the cell population and doxorubicin resistant MCF-7 cells emerged probably through clonal selection. Most of the drug resistant hybrid cells were anchorage independent. But some of the anchorage dependent MCF-7 cells exhibited several unique morphological appearances suggesting minor population of the fused cells maybe de-differentiated and have progenitor cell like characteristics.
CONCLUSION: Our work provides valuable insight into the drug induced cell fusion event and outcome, and suggests YB-1, GST, ABCB5 and ERK3 could be potential targets for the anti-cancer drug development against drug resistant breast cancer cells. Especially, the ERK-3 serine/threonine kinase is specifically up-regulated in the resistant cells and known to be susceptible to synthetic antagonists.

Vásquez-Moctezuma I, Meraz-Ríos MA, Villanueva-López CG, et al.
ATP-binding cassette transporter ABCB5 gene is expressed with variability in malignant melanoma.
Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2010; 101(4):341-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Melanoma is a malignant neoplasm with high metastatic disease risk and elevated mortality. Incidence of melanoma varies according to geographic region and genetic
BACKGROUND: Epidemiological studies indicate that acral melanoma (AM) is among the most common melanomas in the Mexican population. While extensive studies have identified genes associated with melanoma, little is known about the genes involved in the pathogenesis of AM.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the gene expression patterns between primary melanoma and normal skin.
METHODS: We used 10 samples of fresh acral melanomas and normal skin for the study of differential gene expression and 22 samples of melanoma for in situ hybridization.
RESULTS: We first identified a gene that was present in a sample of AM and absent in normal skin. DNA sequencing of this differentially expressed gene revealed that it corresponded to ABCB5, a gene recently implicated in the regulation of progenitor cell fusion. Furthermore, we detected ABCB5 expression in other melanoma specimens by RT-PCR. We showed that nine out of ten melanomas were positive for ABCB5 while only one melanoma and normal skin samples were negative. All ABCB5 expressing melanomas had variable gene expression according to in situ hybridization studies, suggesting that the ABCB5 gene may be differentially regulated by individual melanomas.
CONCLUSIONS: The ABCB5 gene may be related to the properties of chemoresistance and aggressiveness of melanoma. The high expression found in samples of acral melanoma may provide more insight on the pathogenesis of this common type of melanoma in the Mexican population, frequently associated with poor prognosis.

Lal S, Mahajan A, Chen WN, Chowbay B
Pharmacogenetics of target genes across doxorubicin disposition pathway: a review.
Curr Drug Metab. 2010; 11(1):115-28 [PubMed] Related Publications
Increased understanding of the molecular mechanisms of tumor heterogeneity combined with rapid advances in the field of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics have fuelled studies on individualizing anticancer therapy. Doxorubicin (Adriamycin), is an anthracycline glycoside antibiotic originally produced by Streptomyces peucetius var. caesius, and is widely used either as a single agent or in combination with other chemotherapeutic regimens for curative, adjuvant, and palliative treatment in cancer patients. The pharmacogenetics of doxorubicin has not been well characterized. The polygenic influence of functional candidate gene variants across doxorubicin biochemical pathway is hypothesized to contribute to its heterogeneity in disposition, influencing the efficacy of treatment and occurrence of adverse effects like cardiomyopathy in patients undergoing doxorubicin based adjuvant and neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. The pharmacogenetics of Asian population differs from that of other ethnic groups, particularly from Caucasian and African populations, and indicates an important role of ethnicity in determining predictive end points during chemotherapy and in individualizing treatment. This review comprehensively examines the pharmacogenetics of the regulatory nuclear receptor Pregnane-X Receptor (PXR), influx (SLC22A16) and efflux drug transporters (ABCB1, ABCG2, ABCC5, ABCB5 and RLIP76) and drug metabolizing enzymes (CBR1, CBR3) across the biochemical pathway of doxorubicin in Asian breast cancer patients receiving doxorubicin based adjuvant chemotherapy. The influence of functional genetic variants on the inter-individual variability in pharmacokinetics of doxorubicin and its major metabolite are also discussed. The incorporation of non-genetic factors and subsequent validation of these findings in different patient and population groups will be valuable in tailoring doxorubicin dosage regimens to an individual to maximize therapeutic efficacy and minimize adverse reactions, leading to improved clinical outcomes.

Botelho MG, Wang X, Arndt-Jovin DJ, et al.
Induction of terminal differentiation in melanoma cells on downregulation of beta-amyloid precursor protein.
J Invest Dermatol. 2010; 130(5):1400-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
The incidence of melanoma, the most aggressive type of skin cancer, is increasing dramatically, and an effective treatment for patients with advanced disease is as yet unavailable. Greater insight into the molecular features of primary and metastatic melanoma is required, particularly the identification of key regulatory genes that shield the tumor cells from terminal differentiation and apoptosis. The beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) is a cell surface receptor and the transmembrane precursor of the Abeta-peptide, which has an important role in Alzheimer's disease. The study presented here provides evidence that APP is expressed at high levels in advanced-stage melanomas, and that the cells cleave APP and secrete sAPP. We show that blocking the expression of APP by RNA interference impairs the proliferation of metastatic melanoma cells and leads to their terminal and irreversible differentiation. In addition, suppressing APP expression in a metastatic melanoma cell line renders the cells susceptible to several chemotherapeutic agents. Targeting APP may thus constitute a new approach to the treatment of this disease.

Lehne G, Grasmo-Wendler UH, Berner JM, et al.
Upregulation of stem cell genes in multidrug resistant K562 leukemia cells.
Leuk Res. 2009; 33(10):1379-85 [PubMed] Related Publications
The transmembrane transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp) encoded by ABCB1, is one major cause for multidrug resistance (MDR). We compared the genomic profile and gene expression pattern of the P-gp positive K562VCR cells with parental P-gp negative K562wt cells. In K562VCR array CGH revealed amplification of ABCB1, ABCB4, ABCB5 and SEMA3D, whereas expression microarrays demonstrated upregulation of stem cell genes (e.g. KIT and HOXB4), anti-apoptotic genes (e.g. IGF1R and CCNG1), and downregulation of pro-apoptotic genes (e.g. CASP4, 6 and 7). Thus, K562VCR cells disclose stem cell characteristics including a range of drug resistance mechanisms possibly attained as a stem cell program switched on en bloc.

La Porta C
Cancer stem cells: lessons from melanoma.
Stem Cell Rev. 2009; 5(1):61-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
The model of cancer stem cells in tumor development states that tumors contain a subset of cells that both self renew and give rise to differentiated progeny. Like normal adult tissue stem cells, cancer stem cells are a minority of the whole tumor and are the only cells that are able to maintain tumor growth indefinitely. In the present review is critically discussed the actually existence of a cancer stem cell subpopulation in melanoma. The self-renewal signaling pathways as well as specific markers like as CD133, ABCB5 and ABCG2 recently identified in putative melanoma cancer stem cells are also discussed.

Zabierowski SE, Herlyn M
Learning the ABCs of melanoma-initiating cells.
Cancer Cell. 2008; 13(3):185-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor stem or initiating cells have been proposed to exist for melanoma. Stem-like cells have been propagated from melanoma cell lines and specimens. Additionally, classical stem cell markers, including ABCG2 and CD133, have been identified in clinical melanomas. However, definitive markers for the purification and further characterization of melanoma-initiating cells remained elusive. Recently, Schatton et al. provided solid evidence that the doxorubicin-resistant ATP-binding cassette transporter ABCB5 marks primitive cells capable of recapitulating melanomas in xenotransplantation models. The identification of melanoma-initiating cells has far-reaching implications, as new therapeutic strategies can be envisioned that specifically target these cells.

Keshet GI, Goldstein I, Itzhaki O, et al.
MDR1 expression identifies human melanoma stem cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008; 368(4):930-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
ABC transporters are often found to be inherently expressed in a wide variety of stem cells, where they provide improved protection from toxins. We found a subpopulation of human melanoma cells expressing multidrug-resistance gene product 1 (MDR1). This fraction co-expresses the ABC transporters, ABCB5 and ABCC2 in addition to the stem cell markers, nanog and human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT). The clonogenicity and self-renewal capacity of MDR1(+) melanoma cells were investigated in single cell settings using the limiting dilution assay. We found that the MDR1(+) cells, isolated by FACS sorting, demonstrated a higher self-renewal capacity than the MDR1(-) fraction, a key stem cell feature. Moreover, MDR1(+) cells had higher ability to form spheres in low attachment conditions, a hallmark of cancer. In conclusion, these novel findings imply that the MDR1(+) cells represent melanoma stem cells and thus should be considered as a unique cellular target for future anti-melanoma therapies.

Schatton T, Murphy GF, Frank NY, et al.
Identification of cells initiating human melanomas.
Nature. 2008; 451(7176):345-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Tumour-initiating cells capable of self-renewal and differentiation, which are responsible for tumour growth, have been identified in human haematological malignancies and solid cancers. If such minority populations are associated with tumour progression in human patients, specific targeting of tumour-initiating cells could be a strategy to eradicate cancers currently resistant to systemic therapy. Here we identify a subpopulation enriched for human malignant-melanoma-initiating cells (MMIC) defined by expression of the chemoresistance mediator ABCB5 (refs 7, 8) and show that specific targeting of this tumorigenic minority population inhibits tumour growth. ABCB5+ tumour cells detected in human melanoma patients show a primitive molecular phenotype and correlate with clinical melanoma progression. In serial human-to-mouse xenotransplantation experiments, ABCB5+ melanoma cells possess greater tumorigenic capacity than ABCB5- bulk populations and re-establish clinical tumour heterogeneity. In vivo genetic lineage tracking demonstrates a specific capacity of ABCB5+ subpopulations for self-renewal and differentiation, because ABCB5+ cancer cells generate both ABCB5+ and ABCB5- progeny, whereas ABCB5- tumour populations give rise, at lower rates, exclusively to ABCB5- cells. In an initial proof-of-principle analysis, designed to test the hypothesis that MMIC are also required for growth of established tumours, systemic administration of a monoclonal antibody directed at ABCB5, shown to be capable of inducing antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity in ABCB5+ MMIC, exerted tumour-inhibitory effects. Identification of tumour-initiating cells with enhanced abundance in more advanced disease but susceptibility to specific targeting through a defining chemoresistance determinant has important implications for cancer therapy.

Heimerl S, Bosserhoff AK, Langmann T, et al.
Mapping ATP-binding cassette transporter gene expression profiles in melanocytes and melanoma cells.
Melanoma Res. 2007; 17(5):265-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters regulate the transport of a variety of physiologic substrates. Moreover, several human ABC proteins are responsible for drug exclusion in compound-treated tumor cells, providing cellular mechanisms for the development of multidrug resistance and, therefore, playing an important role in malignant transformation. As only limited information exists on the role of ABC transporters in melanoma, the aim of the study was to generate a complete expression profile of ABC transporters in this tumor entity. Using a TaqMan low-density array for 47 human ABC transporters, mRNA expression analysis was performed from normal human epidermal melanocytes (NHEM P2 and NHEM P3), nine different cell lines originating from primary melanoma (Mel Ei, Mel Juso, Mel Ho and Mel Wei), and metastases of malignant melanoma (Mel Im, Mel Ju, SK Mel 28, HTZ 19 and HMB2). Cell line-specific expression levels were compared with gene expression in pooled RNA from a variety of other human tissues. High expression levels were detected in pooled tissue RNA as well as in cells of melanocytic origin for ABCA5, ABCB2, ABCB6, ABCD3, ABCD4, ABCF1, ABCF2 and ABCF3, whereas ABCB5 revealed a melanocyte-specific high transcript level. In relation to normal melanocytes, ABCB3, ABCB6, ABCC2, ABCC4, ABCE1 and ABCF2 were significantly increased in melanoma cell lines, whereas ABCA7, ABCA12, ABCB2, ABCB4, ABCB5 and ABCD1 showed lower expression levels. In summary, we present here for the first time an ABC-transporter mRNA expression profile in melanoma in comparison to normal melanocytes. The differentially regulated ABC transporters detected by our approach may be candidate genes involved in melanoma tumorigenesis, progression and therapy resistance and could therefore be of great importance to identify novel options for melanoma therapy.

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