International Journal of Medical Sciences

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23 January 2019

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Int J Med Sci 2011; 8(3):245-253. doi:10.7150/ijms.8.245


Current Status of Methods to Assess Cancer Drug Resistance

Theodor H. Lippert1✉, Hans-Jörg Ruoff1, Manfred Volm2

1. Medical Faculty, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
2. Medical Faculty, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany


Drug resistance is the main cause of the failure of chemotherapy of malignant tumors, resistance being either preexisting (intrinsic resistance) or induced by the drugs (acquired resistance). At present, resistance is usually diagnosed during treatment after a long period of drug administration.

In the present paper, methods for a rapid assessment of drug resistance are described. Three main classes of test procedures can be found in the literature, i.e. fresh tumor cell culture tests, cancer biomarker tests and positron emission tomography (PET) tests. The methods are based on the evaluation of molecular processes, i.e. metabolic activities of cancer cells. Drug resistance can be diagnosed before treatment in-vitro with fresh tumor cell culture tests, and after a short time of treatment in-vivo with PET tests. Cancer biomarker tests, for which great potential has been predicted, are largely still in the development stage. Individual resistance surveillance with tests delivering rapid results signifies progress in cancer therapy management, by providing the possibility to avoid drug therapies that are ineffective and only harmful.

Keywords: cancer drug resistance, in vitro cancer drug resistance tests, in vivo cancer drug resistance tests, cancer biomarker tests

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
Lippert TH, Ruoff HJ, Volm M. Current Status of Methods to Assess Cancer Drug Resistance. Int J Med Sci 2011; 8(3):245-253. doi:10.7150/ijms.8.245. Available from