Molecular analysis of mechanisms regulating drug sensitivity and the development of new chemotherapy strategies for genitourinary carcinomas

World J Surg. 2000 Oct;24(10):1183-6. doi: 10.1007/s002680010200.


The emergence of drug-resistant tumors during treatment remains one of the major obstacles in cancer chemotherapy. Overexpression of P-glycoprotein encoded by the multidrug resistance 1 (MDR1) gene or multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP) (or both) and decreased expression of DNA topoisomerase II are responsible for expression of the multidrug resistance (MDR) phenotype. The expression of P-glycoprotein is also often observed in untreated cancers showing spontaneous MDR, such as renal cell carcinoma. Regarding cisplatin resistance, decreased cisplatin accumulation, an increase in cisplatin detoxification by glutathione-related enzymes or metallothionein (or both), and increased repair of DNA damage are all considered to play an important role. The combination of reversal agents targeting such drug resistance markers may be a way to improve the outcome of chemotherapy. Regarding the presently available reversal agents, however, clinically relevant chemosensitizing doses cannot be given to humans without inducing significant toxicity. The development of new agents that reverse drug resistance without causing significant toxicity and their clinical application based on the mechanisms regulating drug sensitivity may therefore be a potentially effective new treatment strategy for genitourinary carcinomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Resistance, Multiple / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Urogenital Neoplasms / drug therapy*