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The cytotoxic anti-cancer drugs cisplatin, paclitaxel, doxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), as well as targeted drugs including imatinib, erlotinib, and nivolumab, play key roles in clinical cancer treatment. However, the frequent emergence of drug resistance severely comprosises their anti-cancer efficacy. A number of studies indicated that loss of function of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) is involved in the development of cancer drug resistance, apart from decreased drug influx, increased drug efflux, induction of anti-apoptosis mechanisms, alterations in tumor microenvironment, drug compartmentalization, enhanced DNA repair and drug inactivation. TSGs are involved in the pathogenesis of tumor formation through regulation of DNA damage repair, cell apoptosis, autophagy, proliferation, cell cycle progression, and signal transduction. Our increased understanding of TSGs in the past decades demonstrates that gene mutation is not the only reason that leads to the inactivation of TSGs. Loss of function of TSGs may be based on the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, epigenetic and transcriptional regualtion, post-translation modifications like phosphorylation as well as cellular translocation of TSGs. As the above processes can constitute"druggable targets", these mechanisms provide novel therapeutic approaches in targeting TSGs. Some small molecule compounds targeting these approaches re-activated TSGs and reversed cancer drug resistance. Along this vein, functional restoration of TSGs is a novel and promising approach to surmount cancer drug resistance. In the current review, we draw a scenario based on the role of loss of function of TSGs in drug resistance, on mechanisms leading to inactivation of TSGs and on pharmacological agents acting on these mechanisms to overcome cancer drug resistance. This review discusses novel therapeutic strategies targeting TSGs and offers possible modalities to conquer cancer drug resistance. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Lingyue Gao, Zhuo-Xun Wu, Yehuda G Assaraf, Zhe-Sheng Chen, Lihui Wang. Overcoming anti-cancer drug resistance via restoration of tumor suppressor gene function. Drug resistance updates : reviews and commentaries in antimicrobial and anticancer chemotherapy. 2021 Jul;57:100770

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PMID: 34175687

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