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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 767136, 14 pages
Review Article

Overcome Cancer Cell Drug Resistance Using Natural Products

School of Life Sciences, Shanxi University, Taiyuan, Shanxi 030006, China

Received 17 May 2015; Revised 12 July 2015; Accepted 30 July 2015

Academic Editor: Yew-Min Tzeng

Copyright © 2015 Pu Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Chemotherapy is one of the major treatment methods for cancer. However, failure in chemotherapy is not uncommon, mainly due to dose-limiting toxicity associated with drug resistance. Management of drug resistance is important towards successful chemotherapy. There are many reports in the Chinese literature that natural products can overcome cancer cell drug resistance, which deserve sharing with scientific and industrial communities. We summarized the reports into four categories: (1) in vitro studies using cell line models; (2) serum pharmacology; (3) in vivo studies using animal models; and (4) clinical studies. Fourteen single compounds were reported to have antidrug resistance activity for the first time. In vitro, compounds were able to overcome drug resistance at nontoxic or subtoxic concentrations, in a dose-dependent manner, by inhibiting drug transporters, cell detoxification capacity, or cell apoptosis sensitivity. Studies in vivo showed that single compounds, herbal extract, and formulas had potent antidrug resistance activities. Importantly, many single compounds, herbal extracts, and formulas have been used clinically to treat various diseases including cancer. The review provides comprehensive data on use of natural compounds to overcome cancer cell drug resistance in China, which may facilitate the therapeutic development of natural products for clinical management of cancer drug resistance.