ABC transporters in cancer: more than just drug efflux pumps

Nat Rev Cancer. 2010 Feb;10(2):147-56. doi: 10.1038/nrc2789. Epub 2010 Jan 15.


Multidrug transporter proteins are best known for their contributions to chemoresistance through the efflux of anticancer drugs from cancer cells. However, a considerable body of evidence also points to their importance in cancer extending beyond drug transport to fundamental roles in tumour biology. Currently, much of the evidence for these additional roles is correlative and definitive studies are needed to confirm causality. We propose that delineating the precise roles of these transporters in tumorigenesis and treatment response will be important for the development of more effective targeted therapies.

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / antagonists & inhibitors
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple
  • Humans
  • Leukotrienes / physiology
  • Lysophospholipids / physiology
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostaglandins / physiology
  • Sphingosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Sphingosine / physiology


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Leukotrienes
  • Lysophospholipids
  • Prostaglandins
  • sphingosine 1-phosphate
  • Sphingosine