Wiley Interdiscip Rev Nanomed Nanobiotechnol. 2021 Apr 15:e1715. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1715. Online ahead of print.
Chemotherapy typically involves the use of specific chemodrugs to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, but the frequent emergence of a variety of multidrug-resistant cancer cells poses a tremendous threat to our combat against cancer. The fundamental causes of multidrug resistance (MDR) have been studied for decades, and can be generally classified into two types: one is associated with the activation of diverse drug efflux pumps, which are responsible for translocating intracellular drug molecules out of the cells; the other is linked with some non-efflux pump-related mechanisms, such as antiapoptotic defense, enhanced DNA repair ability, and powerful antioxidant systems. To overcome MDR, intense efforts have been made to develop synergistic therapeutic strategies by introducing MDR inhibitors or combining chemotherapy with other therapeutic modalities, such as phototherapy, gene therapy, and gas therapy, in the hope that the drug-resistant cells can be sensitized toward chemotherapeutics. In particular, nanotechnology-based drug delivery platforms have shown the potential to integrate multiple therapeutic agents into one system. In this review, the focus was on the recent development of nanostrategies aiming to enhance the efficiency of chemotherapy and overcome the MDR of cancer in a synergistic manner. Different combinatorial strategies are introduced in detail and the advantages as well as underlying mechanisms of why these strategies can counteract MDR are discussed. This review is expected to shed new light on the design of advanced nanomedicines from the angle of materials and to deepen our understanding of MDR for the development of more effective anticancer strategies. This article is categorized under: Nanotechnology Approaches to Biology > Nanoscale Systems in Biology Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Nanomedicine for Oncologic Disease.