Examining the relationship between cancer invasion/metastasis and drug resistance

Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2002 Sep;2(3):257-77. doi: 10.2174/1568009023333872.


Studies of cancer invasion/metastasis and drug resistance have in the past generally proceeded along the separate pathways of research. Recently, however, interest has been focused on the possible relationship between drug resistance and cancer invasion and metastasis. A relationship between these two phenotypes has been demonstrated by two types of observation: firstly, some tumor cells selected for resistance to drugs are more invasive/metastatic relative to non-resistant parental cells; secondly, in some cases, secondary (more metastatic) tumors are more resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs than their primary counterparts. In other instances reported in the literature, no correlation is seen between drug exposure/resistance and cancer invasion/metastasis. The possibility that treatment with some chemotherapeutic drugs may be able to promote cancer invasion and metastasis needs further investigation because of its potential clinical relevance. A better understanding of any relationship between drug resistance and cancer invasion could lead to more effective cancer treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Phenotype