Molecular mechanisms of acquired resistance to tyrosine kinase targeted therapy

Mol Cancer. 2010 Apr 12;9:75. doi: 10.1186/1476-4598-9-75.


In recent years, tyrosine kinases (TKs) have been recognized as central players and regulators of cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis, and angiogenesis, and are therefore considered suitable potential targets for anti-cancer therapies. Several strategies for targeting TKs have been developed, the most successful being monoclonal antibodies and small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors. However, increasing evidence of acquired resistance to these drugs has been documented, and extensive preclinical studies are ongoing to try to understand the molecular mechanisms by which cancer cells are able to bypass their inhibitory activity.This review intends to present the most recently identified molecular mechanisms that mediate acquired resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors, identified through the use of in vitro models or the analysis of patient samples. The knowledge obtained from these studies will help to design better therapies that prevent and overcome resistance to treatment in cancer patients.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases