The role of autophagy in anticancer therapy: promises and uncertainties

Tschan, M P; Simon, H-U (2010). The role of autophagy in anticancer therapy: promises and uncertainties. Journal of internal medicine, 268(5), pp. 410-8. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2010.02266.x

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Autophagy (literally self-eating) is a catabolic mechanism involved in the recycling and turnover of cytoplasmic constituents. Although often referred to as type II programmed cell death, autophagy is primarily a survival rather than a cell death mechanism in response to different stress stimuli. Autophagy is a process in which part of the cytoplasm or entire organelles are sequestered into double-membrane vesicles, called autophagosomes, which ultimately fuse with lysosomes to degrade their contents. Studies show that autophagy is associated with a number of pathological conditions, including cancer, infectious diseases, myopathies and neurodegenerative disorders. With respect to cancer, it has been suggested that the early stages of tumourigenesis are associated with downregulation of autophagy-related (ATG) genes. Indeed, several ATG genes display tumour suppressor function, including Beclin1, which is frequently hemizygously deleted in breast cancer cells. Conversely, in advanced stages of tumourigenesis or during anticancer therapy, autophagy may promote survival of tumour cells in adverse environmental conditions. Therefore, a thorough understanding of autophagy in different cancer types and stages is a prerequisite to determine an autophagy-activating or autophagy-inhibiting treatment strategy.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Medical Oncology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology

UniBE Contributor:

Tschan, Mario Paul, Simon, Hans-Uwe




Blackwell Scientific Publications




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:09

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:00

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URI: (FactScience: 201186)

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