Dual-functional drug liposomes in treatment of resistant cancers

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Efficacy of regular chemotherapy is significantly hampered by multidrug resistance (MDR) and severe systemic toxicity. The reduced toxicity has been evidenced after administration of drug liposomes, consisting of the first generation of regular drug liposomes, the second generation of long-circulation drug liposomes, and the third generation of targeting drug liposomes. However, MDR of cancers remains as an unsolved issue. The objective of this article is to review the dual-functional drug liposomes, which demonstrate the potential in overcoming MDR. Herein, dual-functional drug liposomes are referring to the drug-containing phospholipid bilayer vesicles that possess a dual-function of providing the basic efficacy of drug and the extended effect of the drug carrier. They exhibit unique roles in treatment of resistant cancer via circumventing drug efflux caused by adenosine triphosphate binding cassette (ABC) transporters, eliminating cancer stem cells, destroying mitochondria, initiating apoptosis, regulating autophagy, destroying supply channels, utilizing microenvironment, and silencing genes of the resistant cancer. As the prospect of an estimation, dual-functional drug liposomes would exhibit more strength in their extended function, hence deserving further investigation for clinical validation.

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