RNAi-mediated functional analysis of pathways influencing cancer cell drug resistance
Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
Acquired drug resistance limits the efficacy of cytotoxics used in the management of haematological and solid tumours and is responsible for the declining clinical benefit following successive treatment regimens in metastatic cancers. Treatment failure has a major impact on quality of life and survival in advanced disease. Defining pathways of intrinsic and acquired drug resistance may provide new targets to prolong drug efficacy and time to disease progression. Predicting the intrinsic drug sensitivity of human tumours in advance of cytotoxic therapy is of paramount importance in order to limit unnecessary toxicity and optimise treatment outcome. RNA interference (RNAi) provides a powerful tool to annotate gene function and systematically define drug-resistance pathways. High-throughput screening RNAi technology has provided evidence for drug-specific resistance pathways as well as novel pathways implicated in multidrug sensitivity. The challenge is how to integrate these data with biological samples to define relevant drug-resistant pathways in vivo.