Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Open Biol. 2012 May;2(5):120066. doi: 10.1098/rsob.120066.

Cancer drug pan-resistance: pumps, cancer stem cells, quiescence, epithelial to mesenchymal transition, blocked cell death pathways, persisters or what?

Author information

  • 1Molecular Oncology , NKI-AVL , Plesmanlaan 121, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Although chemotherapy of tumours has scored successes, drug resistance remains the major cause of death of cancer patients. Initial treatment often leaves residual disease, from which the tumour regrows. Eventually, most tumours become resistant to all available chemotherapy. I call this pan-resistance to distinguish it from multi-drug resistance, usually describing resistance caused by upregulation of drug transporters, such as P-glycoprotein. In this review, I discuss mechanisms proposed to explain both residual disease and pan-resistance. Although plausible explanations are at hand for residual disease, pan-resistance is still a mystery. My conclusion is that it is time for a major effort to solve this mystery using the new genetically modified mouse tumour models that produce real tumours resembling cancer in human patients.


drug resistance; epithelial to mesenchymal transition; multi-drug resistance; pan-resistance; persisters; residual disease

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk