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Overcoming Taxane and Anthracycline Resistance


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Amelia B. Zelnak, MD, Department of Hematology and Oncology, Emory University Winship Cancer Institute, 1365 C Clifton Road NE, Level 2, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA, or e-mail:


Abstract:  With more and more breast cancer (BC) patients receiving taxanes and anthracyclines in the adjuvant setting, the number of patients resistant to these drugs is rising. Herein, we review cellular mechanisms (e.g., overexpression of drug efflux pumps) that are associated with clinical anthracycline and/or taxane-resistant BC. We also discuss therapeutic approaches that have received Food and Drug Administration approval in this setting or are in clinical development, including targeted agents that do not employ a cytotoxic mechanism, as well as novel chemotherapeutics such as the epothilones, a class of microtubule stabilizers less susceptible to common cellular resistance mechanisms.