The Role of Autophagy in the Progression and Treatment of Tumors


Autophagy is a conserved homeostatic mechanism enabling cells to cope with various stresses. The pathways leading up to the activation of autophagy are interconnected with those of tumorigenesis. However, the relationship between the two events is not a straightforward one and very often context-dependent. Generally, autophagy appears to act against the tumor during the initiation stage and most often drives cancer progression subsequently. Published clinical trials for the treatment of various tumors, where autophagy was pharmacologically inhibited, were obtained and tabulated. Targeting autophagy for the treatment of tumors can be rewarding in the appropriate context, such as cancer type, grade, and microenvironment.