Disassembling a cancer puzzle: Cell junctions and plasma membrane as targets for anticancer therapy
Despite an enhanced permeability and retention effect typical of many solid tumors, drug penetration is not always sufficient. Possible strategies for the drug delivery improvement are a modification of the tumor cell-to-cell junctions and usage of cell membrane permeabilization proteins. In this review we discuss epithelial cell junctions as targets for a combined anticancer therapy and propose new possible sources of such agents. We suggest considering viral and bacterial pathogens disrupting epithelial layers as plentiful sources of new therapeutic agents for increasing tumor permeability for other effector agents. We also observe the application of pore forming proteins and peptides of different origin for cytoplasmic delivery of anti-cancer agents and consider the main obstacles of their use in vivo.