The STAT3 oncogene as a predictive marker of drug resistance

Trends Mol Med. 2007 Jan;13(1):4-11. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2006.11.001. Epub 2006 Nov 21.


Constitutive activation of STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription) has been reported in several primary cancers and tumor cell lines where it induces cell transformation through a combined inhibition of apoptosis and cell-cycle activation. Several studies have suggested that STAT3 prevents cell-cycle arrest and cell death through upregulation of survival proteins and downregulation of tumor suppressors. As a consequence of anti-apoptotic and proliferative lesions, we propose that this oncogenic pathway is also involved in intrinsic drug resistance and that STAT3-expressing tumors are resistant to chemotherapeutic agents. If this hypothesis is correct, the detection of the activated form of this protein should help to define subsets of tumors that fail to respond to chemotherapy. Furthermore, interfering with the STAT3 oncogenic pathway might restore the sensitivity to anticancer drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / genetics*
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*


  • Biomarkers
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human