Tissue transglutaminase: A new target to reverse cancer drug resistance

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Cancer resistance mechanisms, which result from intrinsic genetic alterations of tumor cells or acquired genetic and epigenetic changes, limit the long-lasting benefits of anti-cancer treatments. Tissue transglutaminase (TG2) has emerged as a putative gene involved in tumor cell drug resistance and evasion of apoptosis. Although some reports have indicated that TG2 can suppress tumor growth and enhance the growth inhibitory effects of anti-tumor agents, several studies have presented both pro-survival and anti-apoptotic roles for TG2 in malignant cells. Increased TG2 expression has been found in several tumors, where it was considered a potential negative prognostic marker, and it is often associated with advanced stages of disease, metastatic spread and drug resistance. TG2 mediates drug resistance through the activation of survival pathways and the inhibition of apoptosis, but also by regulating extracellular matrix (ECM) formation, the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) or autophagy. Because TG2 knockdown or inhibition of TG2 enzymatic activity may reverse drug resistance and sensitize cancer cells to drug-induced apoptosis, many small molecules capable of blocking TG2 have recently been developed. Additional insight into the multifunctional nature of TG2 as well as translational studies concerning the correlation between TG2 expression, function or location and cancer behavior will aid in translating these findings into new therapeutic approaches for cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-72
Number of pages10
JournalAmino Acids
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Resistance
  • Tissue transglutaminase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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