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Autophagy. 2006 Apr-Jun;2(2):67-73. Epub 2006 Apr 29.

Autophagy signaling and the cogwheels of cancer.

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INSERM U756, Faculté de Pharmacie, Université Paris-Sud, 92296 Châtenay-Malabry, France.


The downregulation of macroautophagy observed in cancer cells is associated with tumor progression. The regulation of macroautophagy by signaling pathways overlaps with the control of cell growth, proliferation, cell survival and death. Several tumor suppressor genes (PTEN, TSC2 and p53) involved in the mTOR signaling network have been shown to stimulate autophagy. In contrast, the oncoproteins involved in this network have the opposite effect. These findings, together with the discovery that haploinsufficiency of the tumor suppressor beclin 1 promotes tumorigenesis in various tissues in transgenic mice, give credibility to the idea that autophagy is a tumor suppressor mechanism. The induction of macroautophagy by cancer treatments may also contribute to cell eradication. However, cancer cells sometimes mobilize autophagic capacities in response to various stimuli without a fatal outcome, suggesting that they can also exploit macroautophagy for their own benefit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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