The mechanisms that cause chemoresistance of gastric cancer have yet to be elucidated. Taxanes and promising agents that were recently approved for treatment of advanced or recurrent gastric cancer. Mutations of beta-tubulin, which is a target of taxianes, have been shown to confer chemoresistance against these agents. The aim of the present study is to investigate the presence of mutations of the beta-tubulin in gastric cancer tissues. Sixty-six patients with advanced stage III or IV gastric cancer patients enrolled in this study. Paired samples of gastric cancer tissue and normal mucosa were obtained by endoscopy. The guanosine 5′-triphosphate (GTP)-binding site in exon 4 of the beta-tubulin gene was examined by polymerase chain reaction single-strand conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) analysis, followed by sequencing of the products with abnormally shifted bands. SSCP analysis showed abnormal bands upstream of the GTP-binding site in 7 of the 66 patients, but sequence analysis found no nucleotide substitutions in these patients. Three variant bands were also detected down stream of the the GTP-binding site, but the sequences of the 3 products corresponded to those of two independent pseudogenes. Thus, none of the tumor samples showed mutation of the beta-tubulin exon 4 GTP-binding site. In conclusion, these findings suggest that mutations of the beta-tubulin gene are rare and are unlikely to be an important cause of taxane resistance to taxians.
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