Survival rates of patients with metastatic or recurrent cancers have remained virtually
unchanged during the past 30 years. This fact makes the need for new therapeutic options even more urgent. An attractive
option would be to target autophagy, an essential quality control process that degrades toxic aggregates, damaged
organelles, and signaling proteins, and acts as a tumor suppressor pathway of tumor initiation. Conversely, other
fascinating observations suggest that autophagy supports cancer progression, relapse, metastasis, dormancy and resistance
to therapy. This review provides an overview of the contradictory roles that autophagy plays in cancer initiation and
progression and discusses the promises and challenges of current strategies that target autophagy for cancer therapy.
Keywords: Antineoplastic agents/drug effects/autophagy targeted therapy, autophagy addiction/KRAS/BRAF-driven cancers,
tumor metabolism, tumor resistance, tumor relapse, tumor metastasis, tumor dormancy, translational medicine.
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