Epigenetic regulation of autophagy: A key modification in cancer cells and cancer stem cells.

Mandhair, Harpreet K; Novak, Urban; Radpour, Ramin (2021). Epigenetic regulation of autophagy: A key modification in cancer cells and cancer stem cells. World journal of stem cells, 13(6), pp. 542-567. Baishideng Publishing Group 10.4252/wjsc.v13.i6.542

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Aberrant epigenetic alterations play a decisive role in cancer initiation and propagation via the regulation of key tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes or by modulation of essential signaling pathways. Autophagy is a highly regulated mechanism required for the recycling and degradation of surplus and damaged cytoplasmic constituents in a lysosome dependent manner. In cancer, autophagy has a divergent role. For instance, autophagy elicits tumor promoting functions by facilitating metabolic adaption and plasticity in cancer stem cells (CSCs) and cancer cells. Moreover, autophagy exerts pro-survival mechanisms to these cancerous cells by influencing survival, dormancy, immunosurveillance, invasion, metastasis, and resistance to anti-cancer therapies. In addition, recent studies have demonstrated that various tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes involved in autophagy, are tightly regulated via different epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation, histone modifications and non-coding RNAs. The impact of epigenetic regulation of autophagy in cancer cells and CSCs is not well-understood. Therefore, uncovering the complex mechanism of epigenetic regulation of autophagy provides an opportunity to improve and discover novel cancer therapeutics. Subsequently, this would aid in improving clinical outcome for cancer patients. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of the existing knowledge available on epigenetic regulation of autophagy and its importance in the maintenance and homeostasis of CSCs and cancer cells.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Medical Oncology

UniBE Contributor:

Mandhair, Harpreet Kaur, Novak, Urban, Radpour, Ramin


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Baishideng Publishing Group




Rebeka Gerber

Date Deposited:

11 Oct 2021 14:03

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:53

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Autophagy Cancer cells Cancer stem cells DNA methylation Epigenetics Histone remodeling Non-coding RNA





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