Modulating sensitivity to drug-induced apoptosis: the future for chemotherapy?

Breast Cancer Res. 2001;3(3):150-3. doi: 10.1186/bcr289. Epub 2001 Mar 28.


Drug resistance is a fundamental problem in the treatment of most common human cancers. Our understanding of the cellular mechanisms underlying death and survival has allowed the development of rational approaches to overcoming drug resistance. The mitogen activated protein kinase family of protein serine/threonine kinases has been implicated in this complex web of signalling, with some members acting to enhance death and other members to prevent it. A recent publication by MacKeigan et al is the first to demonstrate an enhancement of drug-induced cell death by simultaneous blockade of MEK-mediated survival signalling, and offers the potential for targeted adjuvant therapy as a means of overcoming drug resistance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Genes, Dominant
  • Humans
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / metabolism
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Flavonoids
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
  • Paclitaxel