Using epigenetic therapy to overcome chemotherapy resistance

Julius Strauss*, William D. Figg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


It has been known for decades that as cancer progresses, tumors develop genetic alterations, making them highly prone to developing resistance to therapies. Classically, it has been thought that these acquired genetic changes are fixed. This has led to the paradigm of moving from one cancer therapy to the next while avoiding past therapies. However, emerging data on epigenetic changes during tumor progression and use of epigenetic therapies have shown that epigenetic modifications leading to chemotherapy resistance have the potential to be reversible with epigenetic therapy. In fact, promising clinical data exist that treatment with epigenetic agents can diminish chemotherapy resistance in a number of tumor types including chronic myelogenous leukemia, colorectal, ovarian, lung and breast cancer. The potential for epigenetic-modifying drugs to allow for treatment of resistant disease is exciting and clinical trials have just begun to evaluate this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemotherapy resistance
  • Epigenetic therapy
  • Review


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