Chemotherapy Resistance

OncoLink Team
The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 7, 2013

Question

Why do chemotherapy drugs stop working or need a period of time before they can be used again?

Answer

James Stevenson, MD, Medical Oncologist, responds:

Cancer cells can find ways to become resistant to chemotherapy through different mechanisms. This is an intensive area of research. Specific resistance mechanisms (such as a gene mutation) can potentially be targeted with a treatment designed to inhibit it. Sometimes resistance is irreversible, but other times we find that the same treatment can be used again with success after a period of time off of that treatment.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Focus on Mesothelioma transcript.

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