Cisplatin resistance and redox‐metabolic vulnerability: A second alteration

Medhi Wangpaichitr, George Theodoropoulos, Dan J.M. Nguyen, Chunjing Wu, Sydney A. Spector, Lynn G. Feun, Niramol Savaraj

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The development of drug resistance in tumors is a major obstacle to effective cancer chemotherapy and represents one of the most significant complications to improving long‐term patient outcomes. Despite early positive responsiveness to platinum‐based chemotherapy, the majority of lung cancer patients develop resistance. The development of a new combination therapy targeting cisplatin‐resistant (CR) tumors may mark a major improvement as salvage therapy in these patients. The recent resurgence in research into cellular metabolism has again confirmed that cancer cells utilize aerobic glycolysis (“the Warburg effect”) to produce energy. Hence, this observation still remains a characteristic hallmark of altered metabolism in certain cancer cells. However, recent evidence promotes another concept wherein some tumors that acquire resistance to cisplatin undergo further metabolic alterations that increase tumor reliance on oxidative metabolism (OXMET) instead of glycolysis. Our review focuses on molecular changes that occur in tumors due to the relationship between metabolic demands and the importance of NAD+ in redox (ROS) metabolism and the crosstalk between PARP‐1 (Poly (ADP ribose) polymerase‐1) and SIRTs (sirtuins) in CR tumors. Finally, we discuss a role for the tumor metabolites of the kynurenine pathway (tryptophan catabolism) as effectors of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment during acquisition of resistance in CR cells. Understanding these concepts will form the basis for future targeting of CR cells by exploiting redox‐metabolic changes and their consequences on immune cells in the tumor microenvironment as a new approach to improve overall therapeutic outcomes and survival in patients who fail cisplatin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7379
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2 2021


  • Cisplatin resistance
  • Metabolism
  • Oxidative metabolism
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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