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Nat Rev Cancer. 2012 Jun 7;12(7):494-501. doi: 10.1038/nrc3297.

Managing drug resistance in cancer: lessons from HIV therapy.

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CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria.


Drug resistance is a common cause of treatment failure for HIV infection and cancer. The high mutation rate of HIV leads to genetic heterogeneity among viral populations and provides the seed from which drug-resistant clones emerge in response to therapy. Similarly, most cancers are characterized by extensive genetic, epigenetic, transcriptional and cellular diversity, and drug-resistant cancer cells outgrow their non-resistant peers in a process of somatic evolution. Patient-specific combination of antiviral drugs has emerged as a powerful approach for treating drug-resistant HIV infection, using genotype-based predictions to identify the best matched combination therapy among several hundred possible combinations of HIV drugs. In this Opinion article, we argue that HIV therapy provides a 'blueprint' for designing and validating patient-specific combination therapies in cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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