Autophagy is a complex process in which cell homeostasis of proteins, organelles, exocytic and endocytic vacuoles is controlled. There is a direct link between autophagy and cell death with antigen processing, generation of inflammatory response and immune response. In different diseases, deficiencies in autophagy have been reported. In cancer, it has been proposed that autophagy, at its beginning, is capable of inducing cell death; however, in aggressive tumours and metastasis, the process is responsible for pharmacologic resistance and tumour survival. More research has to be done in order to allow us to understand the process and generate therapeutic options in different pathologies important for the human being. Some patents focused on methodology of autophagosome formation and analysis which seem to be important for pathological description and eventually in future therapeutic approaches have also been reviewed in this article.
Keywords: Autophagy, cancer, cell death, immune response, major histocompatibility complex.