Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology

, Volume 75, Issue 5, pp 879–886 | Cite as

Autophagy in cancer stem/progenitor cells

Review Article

Abstract

Macroautophagy is widely accepted as a cytoprotective mechanism against various environmental stresses. While inhibition of autophagy is generally considered to increase the susceptibility of cancer cells to therapeutic agents, whether it also plays a similar role in tumor stem cells is unclear and still controversial. With increased attention and efforts focused on the cytoprotective feature of autophagy in cancer, it is also essential to understand its role in the biology of cancer stem cells, including self-renewal, differentiation, and tumorigenicity. Although there are very few studies that evaluate autophagy in cancer stem/progenitor cells, understanding the mechanisms governing autophagic responses in various cancer stem cells could provide support for the future development of clinical therapeutics. The present review summarizes current studies that assess the role of autophagy in various types of cancer stem cells and those that evaluate the application of inhibitors of key components within the autophagy pathway in cancer stem/progenitor cells.

Keywords

Cancer stem cells Autophagy Apoptosis Cancer therapy 

Abbreviations

3-MA

3-Methyladenine

ALL

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

BFA

Bafilomycin A1

CSC

Cancer stem cell

CML

Chronic myeloid leukemia

CXCR4

C-X-C chemokine receptor 4

DNA-PKcs

DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit

DNMT1

DNA methyltransferase 1

FIP200

Focal adhesion kinase family interacting protein of 200 kD

GBM

Glioblastoma multiform

HSC

Hematopoietic stem cell

IM

Imatinib mesylate

Jak2

Janus activated kinase 2

mTOR

Mammalian target of rapamycin

PDAC

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Ph+

Philadelphia chromosome-positive

TKI

Tyrosine-kinase inhibitor

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by Grant NSC99-2314-B-010-041-MY3 and NSC100-2314-B-075-065-MY3 from the National Science Council, grant V100C-117, V101C-101, and V102C-138 from Taipei Veterans General Hospital, and Grant CMU101-N2-02 from China Medical University.

Conflict of interest

None.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PharmacyChina Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan, ROC
  2. 2.Department of Public HealthKaohsiung Medical UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan, ROC
  3. 3.Department of Medical Research and EducationTaipei Veterans General HospitalTaipeiTaiwan, ROC
  4. 4.Department of Anatomy, School of MedicineChina Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan, ROC

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