Epitranscriptomics and epiproteomics in cancer drug resistance: therapeutic implications

Signal Transduct Target Ther. 2020 Sep 8;5(1):193. doi: 10.1038/s41392-020-00300-w.


Drug resistance is a major hurdle in cancer treatment and a key cause of poor prognosis. Epitranscriptomics and epiproteomics are crucial in cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. In recent years, epitranscriptomic and epiproteomic modification has been investigated on their roles in overcoming drug resistance. In this review article, we summarized the recent progress in overcoming cancer drug resistance in three novel aspects: (i) mRNA modification, which includes alternative splicing, A-to-I modification and mRNA methylation; (ii) noncoding RNAs modification, which involves miRNAs, lncRNAs, and circRNAs; and (iii) posttranslational modification on molecules encompasses drug inactivation/efflux, drug target modifications, DNA damage repair, cell death resistance, EMT, and metastasis. In addition, we discussed the therapeutic implications of targeting some classical chemotherapeutic drugs such as cisplatin, 5-fluorouridine, and gefitinib via these modifications. Taken together, this review highlights the importance of epitranscriptomic and epiproteomic modification in cancer drug resistance and provides new insights on potential therapeutic targets to reverse cancer drug resistance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Epigenomics*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Proteins* / biosynthesis
  • Neoplasm Proteins* / genetics
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Proteomics*
  • RNA, Neoplasm* / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Neoplasm* / genetics


  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • RNA, Neoplasm