Drug Resistance in Osteosarcoma: Emerging Biomarkers, Therapeutic Targets and Treatment Strategies

Claudia Maria Hattinger, Maria Pia Patrizio, Leonardo Fantoni, Chiara Riganti, Massimo Serra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


High-grade osteosarcoma (HGOS), the most common primary malignant tumor of bone, is a highly aggressive neoplasm with a cure rate of approximately 40-50% in unselected patient populations. The major clinical problems opposing the cure of HGOS are the presence of inherent or acquired drug resistance and the development of metastasis. Since the drugs used in first-line chemotherapy protocols for HGOS and clinical outcome have not significantly evolved in the past three decades, there is an urgent need for new therapeutic biomarkers and targeted treatment strategies, which may increase the currently available spectrum of cure modalities. Unresponsive or chemoresistant (refractory) HGOS patients usually encounter a dismal prognosis, mostly because therapeutic options and drugs effective for rescue treatments are scarce. Tailored treatments for different subgroups of HGOS patients stratified according to drug resistance-related biomarkers thus appear as an option that may improve this situation. This review explores drug resistance-related biomarkers, therapeutic targets and new candidate treatment strategies, which have emerged in HGOS. In addition to consolidated biomarkers, specific attention has been paid to the role of non-coding RNAs, tumor-derived extracellular vesicles, and cancer stem cells as contributors to drug resistance in HGOS, in order to highlight new candidate markers and therapeutic targets. The possible use of new non-conventional drugs to overcome the main mechanisms of drug resistance in HGOS are finally discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 9 2021


  • biomarker
  • drug resistance
  • osteosarcoma
  • personalized medicine


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