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Recent advances on the molecular mechanisms involved in the drug resistance of cancer cells and novel targeting therapies.

17786164

Clin. Pharmacol. Ther.. 2008 May 83 (5).

This review summarizes the recent knowledge obtained on the molecular mechanisms involved in the intrinsic and acquired resistance of cancer cells to current cancer therapies. We describe the cascades that are often altered in cancer cells during cancer progression that may contribute in a crucial manner to drug resistance and disease relapse. The emphasis is on the implication of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) multidrug efflux transporters in drug disposition and antiapoptotic factors, including epidermal growth factor receptor cascades and deregulated enzymes in ceramide metabolic pathways. The altered expression and activity of these signaling elements may have a critical role in the resistance of cancer cells to cytotoxic effects induced by diverse chemotherapeutic drugs and cancer recurrence. Of therapeutic interest, new strategies for reversing the multidrug resistance and developing more effective clinical treatments against the highly aggressive, metastatic, and recurrent cancers, based on the molecular targeting of the cancer progenitor cells and their further differentiated progeny, are also described.