Biochem Pharmacol. 2021 Mar 10:114516. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2021.114516. Online ahead of print.
The overexpression of the human ATP-binding cassette (ABC) drug transporter ABCB1 (P-glycoprotein, P-gp) or ABCG2 (breast cancer resistance protein, BCRP) in cancer cells often contributes significantly to the development of multidrug resistance (MDR) in cancer patients. Previous reports have demonstrated that some epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) could modulate the activity of ABCB1 and/or ABCG2 in human cancer cells, whereas some EGFR TKIs are transport substrates of these transporters. Almonertinib (HS-10296) is a promising, orally available third-generation EGFR TKI for the treatment of EGFR T790M mutation-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in patients who have progressed on or after other EGFR TKI therapies. Additional clinical trials are currently in progress to study almonertinib as monotherapy and in combination with other agents in patients with NSCLC. In the present work, we found that neither ABCB1 nor ABCG2 confers significant resistance to almonertinib. More importantly, we discovered that almonertinib was able to reverse MDR mediated by ABCB1, but not ABCG2, in multidrug-resistant cancer cells at submicromolar concentrations by inhibiting the drug transport activity of ABCB1 without affecting its expression level. These findings are further supported by in silico docking of almonertinib in the drug-binding pocket of ABCB1. In summary, our study revealed an additional activity of almonertinib to re-sensitize ABCB1-overexpressing multidrug-resistant cancer cells to conventional chemotherapeutic drugs, which may be beneficial for cancer patients and warrant further investigation.