Biomed Pharmacother. 2021 Jul;139:111632. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2021.111632. Epub 2021 May 9.
P-glycoprotein, encoded by ATP-binding cassette transporters B1 gene (ABCB1), renders multidrug resistance (MDR) during cancer chemotherapy. Several synthetic small molecule inhibitors affect P-glycoprotein (P-gp) transport function in MDR tumor cells. However, inhibition of P-gp transport function adversely accumulates chemotherapeutic drugs in non-target normal tissues. Moreover, most small-molecule P-gp inhibitors failed in the clinical trials due to the low therapeutic window at the maximum tolerated dose. Therefore, downregulation of ABCB1-gene expression (P-gp) in tumor tissues seems to be a novel approach rather than inhibiting its transport function for the reversal of multidrug resistance (MDR). Several plant-derived phytochemicals modulate various signal transduction pathways and inhibit translocation of transcription factors, thereby reverses P-gp mediated MDR in tumor cells. Therefore, phytochemicals may be considered an alternative to synthetic small molecule P-gp inhibitors for the reversal of MDR in cancer cells. This review discussed the role of natural phytochemicals that modulate ABCB1 expression through various signal transduction pathways in MDR cancer cells. Therefore, modulating the cell signaling pathways by phytochemicals might play crucial roles in modulating ABCB1 gene expression and the reversal of MDR.