Recent developments in unraveling signaling mechanisms underlying drug resistance due to cancer stem-like cells

Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2020 Oct;54:130-141. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2020.09.012. Epub 2020 Nov 6.


Resistance in cancer cells to therapeutic measures is challenging and requires a rigorous delineation of the underlying mechanisms. Emerging findings reflect the characteristics of tumor cells to do the reprogramming of signaling machinery in order to overturn the therapeutic responses. Recent evidence shows that the tumor acquires drug resistance due to the presence of cancer stem cells (CSCs). Hence the understanding that how tumor cells reprogram their signaling mechanisms converging towards the stemness of CSCs is imperative for novel and effective therapy. This review outlines the current updates on how CSC-associated signaling pathways and its enhanced stemness trigger the development of drug resistance. Furthermore, we also discussed the strategies with a combinational approach that can simultaneously target both CSC-induced stemness and the resistance-related signaling pathways, which may provide an optimal outcome to overcome the problem of drug resistance in cancer therapy.

Publication types

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