Therapeutic implications of autophagy-mediated cell survival in gastrointestinal stromal tumor after treatment with imatinib mesylate

Department of Molecular Genetics, Cleveland Clinic, Lerner Research Institute, Taussig Cancer Center, Cleveland, OH, USA.
Autophagy (Impact Factor: 11.75). 11/2010; 6(8):1190-1. DOI: 10.4161/auto.6.8.13430
Source: PubMed

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    • "Thus, autophagy appears critical for the establishment of a dormant state in which GIST cells can survive indefinitely (Gupta et al., 2010). Moreover, these results in GIST broach the exciting idea that autophagy can be more widely exploited to kill or prevent the expansion of quiescent or dormant cancer cells, which are notorious for their resistance to both conventional and targeted therapies (Rubin and Debnath, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved lysosomal degradation process that is crucial for adaptation to stress as well as in cellular homeostasis. In cancer, our current understanding has uncovered multifaceted roles for autophagy in tumor initiation and progression. Although genetic evidence corroborates a critical role for autophagy as a tumor suppressor mechanism, autophagy can also promote the survival and fitness of advanced tumors subject to stress, which has important implications during breast cancer progression and metastasis. Here, I discuss the mechanisms and the evidence underlying these diverse roles for autophagy in cancer and speculate on specific circumstances in which autophagy can be most effectively targeted for breast cancer treatment.
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    ABSTRACT: Amplification of chromosome 8q22, which includes the gene for lysosomal associated transmembrane protein LAPTM4B, has been linked to de novo anthracycline resistance in primary breast cancers with poor prognosis. LAPTM4B overexpression can induce cytosolic retention of anthracyclines and decrease drug-induced DNA damage. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that LAPTM4B may contribute to tumor cell growth or survival in the absence of a chemotherapeutic exposure. In mammary cells, LAPTM4B protein was localized in lysosomes where its depletion increased membrane permeability, pH, cathepsin release, and cellular apoptosis. Loss of LAPTM4B also inhibited later stages of autophagy by blocking maturation of the autophagosome, thereby rendering cells more sensitive to nutrient deprivation or hypoxia. Conversely, enforced overexpression of LAPTM4B promoted autophagic flux and cell survival during in vitro starvation and stimulated more rapid tumor growth in vivo. Together, our results indicate that LAPTM4B is required for lysosome homeostasis, acidification, and function, and that LAPTM4B renders tumor cells resistant to lysosome-mediated cell death triggered by environmental and genotoxic stresses.
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    ABSTRACT: Autophagy is a regulated process for the degradation of cellular components that has been well conserved in eukaryotic cells. The discovery of autophagy-regulating proteins in yeast has been important in understanding this process. Although many parallels exist between fungi and mammals in the regulation and execution of autophagy, there are some important differences. The pre-autophagosomal structure found in yeast has not been identified in mammals, and it seems that there may be multiple origins for autophagosomes, including endoplasmic reticulum, plasma membrane and mitochondrial outer membrane. The maturation of the phagophore is largely dependent on 5'-AMP activated protein kinase and other factors that lead to the dephosphorylation of mammalian target of rapamycin. Once the process is initiated, the mammalian phagophore elongates and matures into an autophagosome by processes that are similar to those in yeast. Cargo selection is dependent on the ubiquitin conjugation of protein aggregates and organelles and recognition of these conjugates by autophagosomal receptors. Lysosomal degradation of cargo produces metabolites that can be recycled during stress. Autophagy is an important cellular safeguard during starvation in all eukaryotes; however, it may have more complicated, tissue specific roles in mammals. With certain exceptions, autophagy seems to be cytoprotective, and defects in the process have been associated with human disease.
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