The Multifaceted Roles of Autophagy in Tumors—Implications for Breast Cancer

Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10911-011-9223-3

Cite this article as:
Debnath, J. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia (2011) 16: 173. doi:10.1007/s10911-011-9223-3

Abstract

Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved lysosomal degradation process that is crucial for adaptation to stress as well as in cellular homeostasis. In cancer, our current understanding has uncovered multifaceted roles for autophagy in tumor initiation and progression. Although genetic evidence corroborates a critical role for autophagy as a tumor suppressor mechanism, autophagy can also promote the survival and fitness of advanced tumors subject to stress, which has important implications during breast cancer progression and metastasis. Here, I discuss the mechanisms and the evidence underlying these diverse roles for autophagy in cancer and speculate on specific circumstances in which autophagy can be most effectively targeted for breast cancer treatment.

Keywords

AutophagyBreast cancerGenomic instabilityOxidative stressApoptosisAnoikisGlycolysisMetabolismDCISTumor dormancyHydroxychloroquine

Abbreviations

ATG

autophagy related gene

DCIS

ductal carcinoma in situ

ER

endoplasmic reticulum

HCQ

hydroxychloroquine

LIR

LC3 interacting region

OIS

oncogene-induced senescence

PI3K

phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase

ROS

reactive oxygen species

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pathology and Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA