Gemcitabine: An Alternative Treatment for Oxaliplatin-Resistant Colorectal Cancer


  • Chocry Mathieu
  • Leloup Ludovic
  • Parat Fabrice
  • Messé Mélissa
  • Pagano Alessandra
  • Kovacic Hervé


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Chemoresistance
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Gemcitabine
  • P38 MAPK


Resistance to treatments is one of the leading causes of cancer therapy failure. Oxaliplatin is a standard chemotherapy used to treat metastatic colorectal cancer. However, its efficacy is greatly reduced by the development of resistances. In a previous study, we deciphered the mechanisms leading to oxaliplatin resistance and highlighted the roles played by ROS production and the p38 MAPK pathway in this phenomenon. In this report, we studied the effects of different chemotherapy molecules on our oxaliplatin-resistant cells to identify alternative treatments. Among all the studied molecules, gemcitabine was the only one to present a major cytotoxic effect on oxaliplatin-resistant cancer cells both in vivo and in vitro. However, the combination of oxaliplatin and gemcitabine did not present any major interest. Indeed, the study of combination efficiency using Chou and Talalay’s method showed no synergy between oxaliplatin and gemcitabine. Using PamGene technology to decipher gemcitabine’s effects on oxaliplatin-resistant cells, we were able to show that gemcitabine counteracts chemoresistance by strongly inhibiting the Akt and src/p38 MAPK pathways, leading to apoptosis induction and cell death. In view of these results, gemcitabine could be an interesting alternative therapy for patients with colorectal cancer not responding to oxaliplatin-based protocols such as FOLFOX.

more information