Autophagy and tumorigenesis

Department of Pathology, Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.
FEBS letters (Impact Factor: 3.34). 04/2010; 584(7):1427-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.febslet.2009.12.034
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Autophagy, or cellular self-digestion, is activated in cancer cells in response to multiple stresses and has been demonstrated to promote tumor cell survival and drug resistance. Nonetheless, genetic evidence supports that autophagy functions as a tumor suppressor mechanism. Hence, the precise role of autophagy during cancer progression and treatment is both tissue and context dependent. Here, we discuss our current understanding of the biological functions of autophagy during cancer development, overview how autophagy is regulated by cancer-associated signaling pathways, and review how autophagy inhibition is being exploited to improve clinical outcomes.

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