Multidrug resistance

Jeffrey A. Moscow, Kenneth H. Cowan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

431 Scopus citations


The ability of malignant cells to develop resistance to cytotoxic drugs poses a major obstacle to the ultimate success of cancer therapy. While some mechanisms of resistance allow cells to survive exposure to a single agent, the phenomenon of multidrug resistance (MDR) confers upon cells the ability to withstand exposure to lethal doses of many structurally unrelated antineoplastic agents. MDR has been strongly linked to the overexpression of a membrane-associated glycoprotein, P-glycoprotein, which appears to play a role in drug efflux. However, several lines of evidence suggest that other mechanisms of resistance are involved in MDR; biochemical similarities observed in a human breast cancer cell line after the acquisition of MDR and in carcinogen-induced rat preneoplastic hepatic nodules indicate that changes in regulation of phase I and phase II drug-metabolizing enzymes may also play a role in MDR. An atypical pattern of MDR has been characterized and related to altered topoisomerase activity. Improvement in current cancer chemotherapy may be achieved by interfering with the regulation and expression of mechanisms of MDR. [J Natl Cancer Inst 1988;80:14-20].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-20
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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