New insights into mechanisms of resistance to microtubule inhibitors

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Dec;1816(2):164-71. doi: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2011.06.001. Epub 2011 Jun 29.


Mechanisms to explain tumor cell resistance to drugs that target the microtubule cytoskeleton have relied on the assumption that the drugs act either to suppress microtubule dynamics or to perturb the balance between assembled and nonassembled tubulin. Recently, however, it was found that these drugs also alter the stability of microtubule attachment to centrosomes, and do so at the same concentrations that are needed to inhibit cell division. Based on this new information, a new model is presented that explains resistance resulting from a variety of molecular changes that have been reported in the literature. The improved understanding of drug action and resistance has important implications for chemotherapy with these agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Humans
  • Microtubules / drug effects*
  • Microtubules / physiology
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Tubulin Modulators / therapeutic use*


  • Tubulin Modulators