Macroautophagy (hereafter referred as to autophagy) is a vacuolar lysosomal degradative pathway for cytoplasmic macromolecules and organelles. There is growing evidence that autophagy is controlled by tumor-regulating molecules, and that it is downregulated during the early stages of tumorigenesis. Nevertheless, the relationship between autophagy and tumor progression seems to be complex, since in response to various stress situations, cancer cells are able to trigger autophagy either as a survival mechanism or conversely as a mechanism leading to cell death. Therefore, depending on the context, autophagy may trigger opposite outcomes in cancer cell fate. These two aspects of autophagy should be further taken into account in view of its possible modulation for cancer treatment.
Keywords: Autophagy, tumor, cancer therapy, apoptosis, cell death, cell survival
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