Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Sep 1;15(17):5308-16. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-07-5023. Epub 2009 Aug 25.

The double-edged sword of autophagy modulation in cancer.

Author information

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903, USA.


Macroautophagy (autophagy) is a lysosomal degradation pathway for the breakdown of intracellular proteins and organelles. Although constitutive autophagy is a homeostatic mechanism for intracellular recycling and metabolic regulation, autophagy is also stress responsive, in which it is important for the removal of damaged proteins and organelles. Autophagy thereby confers stress tolerance, limits damage, and sustains viability under adverse conditions. Autophagy is a tumor-suppression mechanism, yet it enables tumor cell survival in stress. Reconciling how loss of a prosurvival function can promote tumorigenesis, emerging evidence suggests that preservation of cellular fitness by autophagy may be key to tumor suppression. As autophagy is such a fundamental process, establishing how the functional status of autophagy influences tumorigenesis and treatment response is important. This is especially critical as many current cancer therapeutics activate autophagy. Therefore, efforts to understand and modulate the autophagy pathway will provide new approaches to cancer therapy and prevention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center