Docetaxel-induced polyploidization may underlie chemoresistance and disease relapse

Cancer Lett. 2015 Oct 28;367(2):89-92. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2015.06.025. Epub 2015 Jul 13.


Although docetaxel significantly improves survival in a variety of malignancies, its clinical utility is severely restricted by acquired chemoresistance and disease relapse. To uncover the mechanisms underlying these all too common occurrences, an abundance of research has focused on mutations and gene expression patterns; however, these findings are yet to translate into improved outcomes for patients being administered this drug. These analyses have overlooked a promising lead in the quest to discern key mediators of resistance and relapse following docetaxel therapy: polyploidization. This process is manifested following docetaxel-mediated mitotic arrest by the appearance of giant, multinucleated cells, which slipped from mitosis without undergoing cytokinesis. Polyploid cells generally possess supernumerary centrosomes, are chromosomally instable, and resist chemotherapy. We thus suspect that chemoresistance and relapse following treatment with docetaxel might be combatted by co-administration of centrosome declustering drugs, which could selectively destroy polyploid cells given that normal cells do not possess amplified centrosomes, an intriguing paradigm that warrants further investigation.

Keywords: Centrosome declustering; Chemoresistance; Docetaxel; Polyploidy; Recurrence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Cellular Senescence / drug effects
  • Centrosome / drug effects
  • Centrosome / metabolism
  • Centrosome / pathology
  • Docetaxel
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / drug effects
  • Giant Cells / drug effects*
  • Giant Cells / metabolism
  • Giant Cells / pathology
  • Humans
  • Mitosis / drug effects
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Polyploidy*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Taxoids / adverse effects*
  • Treatment Failure


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Taxoids
  • Docetaxel