Small-Molecule Regulators of Autophagy as Potential Anti-cancer Therapy
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Autophagy is an evolutionary conserved lysosomal pathway functioned in the turnover of cellular macromolecules and organelles. It is known that autophagy can have a cytoprotective effect in tumor cells under therapeutic treatment. Autophagy inhibitors thus may be used as auxiliary drugs to augment the anti-tumor activity of cancer therapies. On the other hand, autophagy is a cytotoxic event that can kill tumor cells. Autophagy inducers that increase the level of autophagy thus may be developed as a new class of anti-cancer therapy. This chapter will describe the known pathway of autophagy and its relationship to cancer. The focus of this chapter is to give a summary of the known small-molecule regulators of autophagy, including inhibitors and inducers, discovered as potential therapies for cancer treatment.