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Therapeutic Nanoparticles to Combat Cancer Drug Resistance

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This review focuses on the application of drug-loaded nanoparticles (NPs), also called therapeutic NPs, to combat cancer chemoresistance. Many cancer patients have encouraging response to first line chemotherapies but end up with cancer progression or cancer recurrence that requires further treatment. Response to subsequent chemotherapies with various agents usually drops significantly due to formidable cancer chemoresistance. A number of mechanisms have been postulated to account for cancer chemoresistance or poor response to chemotherapy. The best studied mechanism of resistance is mediated through the alteration in the drug efflux proteins responsible for the removal of many commonly used anticancer drugs. Therapeutic NPs have emerged as an innovative and promising alternative of the conventional small molecule chemotherapies to combat cancer drug resistance and have shown enhanced therapeutic efficacy and reduced adverse side effects as compared to their small molecule counterparts. Here the possible mechanisms of therapeutic NPs to combat cancer chemoresistance are reviewed, including prolonging drug systemic circulation lifetime, targeted drug delivery, stimuli-responsive drug release, endocytic uptake of drugs and co-delivering chemo-sensitizing agents. We also call attention to the current challenges and needs of developing therapeutic NPs to combat cancer drug resistance.

Keywords: Cancer chemoresistance; combination therapy; endocytic uptake; long circulation; nanoparticle drug delivery; stimuli-responsive drug release; targeted delivery

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Current Drug Metabolism aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in drug metabolism and disposition. The journal serves as an international forum for the publication of timely reviews in drug metabolism. Current Drug Metabolism is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments. The journal covers the following areas:

    In vitro systems including CYP-450; enzyme induction and inhibition; drug-drug interactions and enzyme kinetics; pharmacokinetics, toxicokinetics, species scaling and extrapolations; P-glycoprotein and transport carriers; target organ toxicity and interindividual variability; drug metabolism and disposition studies; extrahepatic metabolism; phase I and phase II metabolism; recent developments for the identification of drug metabolites and adducts.

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