Nuclear expression of the Y-box-binding protein-1 (YB-1) has been reported to regulate the expression of both P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and major vault protein (MVP), and to regulate proliferative activities in human malignancies. Based on morphology and molecular biology, rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) can be divided into two major types: embryonal type and the more aggressive alveolar type. Thirty-five cases of embryonal RMS (ERMS) and 28 cases of alveolar RMS (ARMS) were examined immunohistochemically for the nuclear expression of YB-1 and the intrinsic expression of P-gp, multidrug resistance (MDR)-associated protein (MRP) 1, 2, and 3, breast-cancer resistant protein (BCRP) and MVP, and the findings were compared with proliferative activities as evaluated by the MIB-1-labeling index (LI). Moreover, mRNA levels of these MDR-related molecules were assessed using a quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR method in 18 concordant frozen materials. P-gp expression was more frequently observed ARMS, compared with ERMS (P=0.0332), whereas immunoreactivity for BCRP was more frequently recognized in ERMS (P=0.0184). Nuclear expression of YB-1 protein was correlated with P-gp (P=0.0359) and MVP (P=0.0044) expression, and a higher MIB-1-labeling index (P=0.0244) in ERMS, however, in ARMS no such relationships were observed. These immunohistochemical results indicate that different expression profiles of MDR-related molecules and their correlation with YB-1 nuclear expression support the concept that ERMS and ARMS are molecular biologically distinct neoplasms. Apart from ERMS, frequent P-gp expression in ARMS may be independent from YB-1 regulation. However, YB-1 may be a candidate for a molecular target in rhabdomyosarcoma therapy, especially in ERMS.
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