An update on overcoming MDR1-mediated multidrug resistance in cancer chemotherapy

Curr Pharm Des. 2006;12(3):273-86. doi: 10.2174/138161206775201965.


The intrinsic or acquired resistance to anticancer drugs remains one of the most significant factors impeding the progress of cancer chemotherapy. This phenomenon often involves simultaneous resistance to other anticancer drugs that differ in their chemical structure and mode of action and are not even used in chemotherapy. This phenotype has been called multidrug resistance (MDR). Although the cellular basis underlying MDR is not fully understood, several factors mediating therapy resistance in tumors have been proposed. One of the mechanisms leading to chemoresistance of tumor cells is the increased activity of transporter proteins. The best-characterized transporter protein is MDR1/P-glycoprotein, and a number of clinical investigations have suggested that its intrinsic or acquired overexpression resulted in a poor clinical outcome of chemotherapy. Various types of compounds and techniques for the reversal of MDR1/P-glycoprotein-mediated MDR have been developed, and efforts have concentrated on the inhibition of function and suppression of expression. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge of MDR1/P-glycoprotein and the modulation of MDR by targeting MDR1/P-glycoprotein.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / biosynthesis
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Genes, MDR / genetics*
  • Genes, MDR / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pharmacogenetics


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Antineoplastic Agents