Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 21;22(6):3199. doi: 10.3390/ijms22063199.
Chemotherapeutics are the mainstay treatment for metastatic breast cancers. However, the chemotherapeutic failure caused by multidrug resistance (MDR) remains a pivotal obstacle to effective chemotherapies of breast cancer. Although in vitro evidence suggests that the overexpression of ATP-Binding Cassette (ABC) transporters confers resistance to cytotoxic and molecularly targeted chemotherapies by reducing the intracellular accumulation of active moieties, the clinical trials that target ABCB1 to reverse drug resistance have been disappointing. Nevertheless, studies indicate that ABC transporters may contribute to breast cancer development and metastasis independent of their efflux function. A broader and more clarified understanding of the functions and roles of ABC transporters in breast cancer biology will potentially contribute to stratifying patients for precision regimens and promote the development of novel therapies. Herein, we summarise the current knowledge relating to the mechanisms, functions and regulations of ABC transporters, with a focus on the roles of ABC transporters in breast cancer chemoresistance, progression and metastasis.