ABCA1/ABCB1 Ratio Determines Chemo- and Immune-Sensitivity in Human Osteosarcoma

Dimas Carolina Belisario, Muhlis Akman, Martina Godel, Virginia Campani, Maria Pia Patrizio, Lorena Scotti, Claudia Maria Hattinger, Giuseppe De De Rosa, Massimo Donadelli, Massimo Serra, Joanna Kopecka, Chiara Riganti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ATP Binding Cassette transporter B1 (ABCB1) induces chemoresistance in osteosarcoma, because it effluxes doxorubicin, reducing the intracellular accumulation, toxicity, and immunogenic cell death induced by the drug. The ATP Binding Cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) effluxes isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP), a strong activator of anti-tumor Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells. Recruiting this population may represent an alternative strategy to rescue doxorubicin efficacy in ABCB1-expressing osteosarcoma. In this work, we analyzed how ABCA1 and ABCB1 are regulated in osteosarcoma, and if increasing the ABCA1-dependent activation of Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells could be an effective strategy against ABCB1-expressing osteosarcoma. We used 2D-cultured doxorubicin-sensitive human U-2OS and Saos-2 cells, their doxorubicin-resistant sublines (U-2OS/DX580 and Saos-2/DX580), and 3D cultures of U-2OS and Saos-2 cells. DX580-sublines and 3D cultures had higher levels of ABCB1 and higher resistance to doxorubicin than parental cells. Surprisingly, they had reduced ABCA1 levels, IPP efflux, and Vγ9Vδ2 T-cell-induced killing. In these chemo-immune-resistant cells, the Ras/Akt/mTOR axis inhibits the ABCA1-transcription induced by Liver X Receptor α (LXRα); Ras/ERK1/2/HIF-1α axis up-regulates ABCB1. Targeting the farnesylation of Ras with self-assembling nanoparticles encapsulating zoledronic acid (NZ) simultaneously inhibited both axes. In humanized mice, NZ reduced the growth of chemo-immune-resistant osteosarcomas, increased intratumor necro-apoptosis, and ABCA1/ABCB1 ratio and Vγ9Vδ2 T-cell infiltration. We suggest that the ABCB1 high ABCA1 low phenotype is indicative of chemo-immune-resistance. We propose aminobisphosphonates as new chemo-immune-sensitizing tools against drug-resistant osteosarcomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 6 2020


  • ABCA1
  • ABCB1
  • Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells
  • doxorubicin resistance
  • osteosarcoma


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