Because tumors develop resistance to chemotherapeutic agents, the cancer research community continues to search for effective chemosensitizers. One promising possibility is to use dietary agents that sensitize tumors to the chemotherapeutics. In this review, we discuss that the use of resveratrol can sensitize tumor cells to chemotherapeutic agents. The tumors shown to be sensitized by resveratrol include lung carcinoma, acute myeloid leukemia, promyelocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, oral epidermoid carcinoma, and pancreatic cancer. The chemotherapeutic agents include vincristine, adriamycin, paclitaxel, doxorubicin, cisplatin, gefitinib, 5-fluorouracil, velcade, and gemcitabine. The chemosensitization of tumor cells by resveratrol appears to be mediated through its ability to modulate multiple cell-signaling molecules, including drug transporters, cell survival proteins, cell proliferative proteins, and members of the NF-κB and STAT3 signaling pathways. Interestingly, this nutraceutical has also been reported to suppress apoptosis induced by paclitaxel, vincristine, and daunorubicin in some tumor cells. The potential mechanisms underlying this dual effect are discussed. Overall, studies suggest that resveratrol can be used to sensitize tumors to standard cancer chemotherapeutics.
© 2011 New York Academy of Sciences.