Different strategies to overcome multidrug resistance in cancer

Biotechnol Adv. 2013 Dec;31(8):1397-407. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2013.06.004. Epub 2013 Jun 22.


The risk of acquisition of resistance to chemotherapy remains a major hurdle in the management of various types of cancer patients. Several cellular and noncellular mechanisms are involved in developing both intrinsic and acquired resistance in cancer cells toward chemotherapy. This review covers the various multidrug resistance (MDR) mechanisms observed in cancer cells as well as the various strategies developed to overcome these MDR mechanisms. Extensive studies have been conducted during the last several decades to enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy by suppressing or evading these MDR mechanisms including the use of new anticancer drugs that could escape from the efflux reaction, MDR modulators or chemosensitizers, multifunctional nanocarriers, and RNA interference (RNAi) therapy.

Keywords: Anticancer agents; Cancer; Chemosensitizers; Multidrug resistance; Nanocarriers; RNAi therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drug Carriers
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nanoparticles
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • RNA Interference
  • Rats


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drug Carriers