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Drug Resistance and Cancer

  • Charles S. Morrow
  • Kenneth Cowan
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 330)

Abstract

Systemic therapy with cytotoxic drugs is the basis of most effective treatments of disseminated cancers. Additionally, adjuvant chemotherapy can offer a significant survival advantage to selected patients following the treatment of localized disease with surgery or radiotherapy, presumably by eliminating undetected minimal or microscopic metastatic tumor. However, the responses of tumors to chemotherapeutic regimens vary and failures are frequent owing to the emergence of drug resistance. Patterns of treatment response and tumor sensitivity are conveniently divided into three groups. First, high complete response rates are common for some intrinsically drug-sensitive tumors such as childhood ALL, Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, and testicular cancer. A second group including tumors such as breast carcinomas, small cell lung cancers, and ovarian carcinomas are also usually highly responsive to initial treatments but more often become refractory to further therapy. Relapses in either group of tumors generally herald the emergence of tumor cells which are resistant to the antineoplastic agents used initially and often drugs to which the patient was never exposed. Therefore, success with salvage chemotherapies has been limited. Finally, a third common pattern of drug sensitivity is found in tumors which are intrinsically resistant to most chemotherapeutic agents. This group is represented by malignancies such as non-small cell lung cancers, malignant melanoma, and colon cancer. For these tumors, the number of active antineoplastic agents is few and significant chemotherapeutic responses are effected in a minority of cases.

Keywords

Drug Resistance Multidrug Resistance Antineoplastic Agent Antineoplastic Drug High Complete Response Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles S. Morrow
    • 1
  • Kenneth Cowan
    • 1
  1. 1.Medicine Branch, Division of Cancer TreatmentNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA

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