Targeting autophagy in cancer management-strategies and developments

Bulent Ozpolat, Doris M. Benbrook

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations

Abstract

Autophagy is a highly regulated catabolic process involving lysosomal degradation of intracellular components, damaged organelles, misfolded proteins, and toxic aggregates, reducing oxidative stress and protecting cells from damage. The process is also induced in response to various conditions, including nutrient deprivation, metabolic stress, hypoxia, anticancer therapeutics, and radiation therapy to adapt cellular conditions for survival. Autophagy can function as a tumor suppressor mechanism in normal cells and dysregulation of this process (ie, monoallelic Beclin-1 deletion) may lead to malignant transformation and carcinogenesis. In tumors, autophagy is thought to promote tumor growth and progression by helping cells to adapt and survive in metabolically-challenged and harsh tumor microenvironments (ie, hypoxia and acidity). Recent in vitro and in vivo studies in preclinical models suggested that modulation of autophagy can be used as a therapeutic modality to enhance the efficacy of conventional therapies, including chemo and radiation therapy. Currently, more than 30 clinical trials are investigating the effects of autophagy inhibition in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapies and targeted agents in various cancers. In this review, we will discuss the role, molecular mechanism, and regulation of autophagy, while targeting this process as a novel therapeutic modality, in various cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-299
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Management and Research
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Autophagy inhibition
  • Chemotherapy
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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