The Multidrug Resistance of Cancer Stem Cells: An insight into ABC transporters

How to Cite

Yun. (2019). The Multidrug Resistance of Cancer Stem Cells: An insight into ABC transporters. American Journal of Translational Medicine, 3(2), 45–58. Retrieved from


BACKGROUND: Cancer stem cells play significant roles in cancer propagation, metastasis, and acquisition of multidrug resistance. Research on membrane-bound ABC transporters will facilitate strategies for evading multidrug resistance. Objective: To review the research on the relationship between ABC transporters and multidrug resistance of cancer stem cells. METHODS: Papers regarding ABC transporters and cancer stem cell/multidrug resistance published in English between January 1998 and May 2019 were retrieved from the PubMed database using the key words ‘ABC transporter,’ ‘cancer stem cell,’ and ‘multidrug resistance’. In total, 394 papers were initially retrieved. After 346 papers with independent objectives and out-of-date content were excluded, 48 papers were found suitable for final analysis. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: ABC transporters expel cytotoxic substances from the cell and are closely related to the multidrug resistance of various cancers, including ovarian cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, liver cancer, gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer, multiple myeloma, and glioblastoma. Chemosensitivity increases significantly when the expression of ABC transporters is reduced using combined drugs or knock down of genes encoding these transporters. ABC transporters are also the downstream targets of many signaling pathways. Therefore, regulation of these signaling pathways and inhibition of the expression of ABC transporters also contribute to successful chemotherapy. (Am J Transl Med 2019. 3:45-58)