In this review, intratumoral drug disposition will be integrated into the wide range of resistance mechanisms to anticancer agents with particular emphasis on targeted protein kinase inhibitors. Six rules will be established: 1. There is a high variability of extracellular/intracellular drug level ratios; 2. There are three main systems involved in intratumoral drug disposition that are composed of SLC, ABC and XME enzymes; 3. There is a synergistic interplay between these three systems; 4. In cancer subclones, there is a strong genomic instability that leads to a highly variable expression of SLC, ABC or XME enzymes; 5. Tumor-expressed metabolizing enzymes play a role in tumor-specific ADME and cell survival and 6. These three systems are involved in the appearance of resistance (transient event) or in the resistance itself. In addition, this article will investigate whether the overexpression of some ABC and XME systems in cancer cells is just a random consequence of DNA/chromosomal instability, hypo- or hypermethylation and microRNA deregulation, or a more organized modification induced by transposable elements. Experiments will also have to establish if these tumorexpressed enzymes participate in cell metabolism or in tumor-specific ADME or if they are only markers of clonal evolution and genomic deregulation. Eventually, the review will underline that the fate of anticancer agents in cancer cells should be more thoroughly investigated from drug discovery to clinical studies. Indeed, inhibition of tumor expressed metabolizing enzymes could strongly increase drug disposition, specifically in the target cells resulting in more efficient therapies.
Keywords: Drug Disposition, Metabolism, Efflux, Cancer, Resistance, SLC, ABC, CYP
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