Natural Products Modulate the Multifactorial Multidrug Resistance of Cancer


Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a critical problem in cancer chemotherapy. Cancer cells can develop resistance not only to a single cytotoxic drug, but also to entire classes of structurally and functionally unrelated compounds. Several mechanisms can mediate the development of MDR, including increased drug efflux from the cells by ABC-transporters (ABCT), activation of metabolic enzymes, and defective pathways towards apoptosis. Many plant secondary metabolites (SMs) can potentially increase sensitivity of drug-resistant cancer cells to chemotherapeutical agents. The present thesis investigates the modulation of MDR by certain medicinal plants and their active compounds. The inhibition of ABCTs (P-gp/MDR1, MRP1, BCRP) and metabolic enzymes (GST and CYP3A4), and the induction of apoptosis are useful indicators of the efficacy of a potential medicinal drug. The focus of this study was the possible mechanisms of drug resistance including: expression of resistance proteins, activation of metabolic enzymes, and alteration of the apoptosis and how to overcome their resistance effect on cancer cells. The overall goal of this review was to evaluate how commonly used medicinal plants and their main active secondary metabolites modulate multidrug resistance in cancer cells in order to validate their uses as anticancer drugs, introduce new therapeutic options for resistant cancer, and facilitate the development of their anticancer strategies and/or combination therapies. In conclusion, SMs from medicinal plants exhibit multitarget activity against MDR-related proteins, metabolic enzymes, and apoptotic signaling, this may help to overcome resistance towards chemotherapeutic drugs.

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Eid, S. , El-Readi, M. , Fatani, S. , Mohamed Nour Eldin, E. and Wink, M. (2015) Natural Products Modulate the Multifactorial Multidrug Resistance of Cancer. Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 6, 146-176. doi: 10.4236/pp.2015.63017.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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