Research Highlights: Cancer Cells Evade Death from Chemotherapy

cancer cells
By Dr. Cecil Fox (Photographer) – This image was released by the National Cancer Institute, an agency part of the National Institutes of Health, with the ID 2288 (image) (next)., Public Domain,

Cancer Cells Evade Death from Chemotherapy

  • Cancer cells enter a state where it can evade death from chemotherapy and targeted agents.
  • During this death evasion state, therapy failure and tumor relapse may occur.
  • Researchers identify and characterize the cancer cell death evasion in response to chemotherapy.
  • Researchers utilized cellular barcoding and mathematical modeling in patient-derived colorectal cancer models.
  • Analysis revealed that therapy has no effect on tumors that entered death evasion state.
  • Additionally, recurrence is followed after ending treatment.
  • Data shows that all cancer cells have the ability to become immortal to chemotherapy.
  • Researchers determined that the death evasion state is transcriptionally and functionally similar to diapause.
  • Diapause occurs when the development of an embryo is suspended in response to unfavorable environmental conditions.
  • The study provides more understanding into how cancer cells use a developmentally conserved mechanism to drive the death evasion state.
  • The result demands a new therapeutic opportunities to target the death evasion mechanism.


Rehman, S. K., Haynes, J., Collignon, E., Brown, K. R., Wang, Y., Nixon, A., Bruce, J. P., Wintersinger, J. A., Singh Mer, A., Lo, E., Leung, C., Lima-Fernandes, E., Pedley, N. M., Soares, F., McGibbon, S., He, H. H., Pollet, A., Pugh, T. J., Haibe-Kains, B., Morris, Q., … O’Brien, C. A. (2021). Colorectal Cancer Cells Enter a Diapause-like DTP State to Survive Chemotherapy. Cell184(1), 226–242.e21.

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