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Autophagy, Cell Death, and Cancer

  • Maryam Mehrpour
  • Ahmed Hamaï
  • Patrice CodognoEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Macroautophagy or autophagy is a self-digesting mechanism in which the cellular contents are engulfed by autophagosomes and delivered to the lysosomes for degradation. Although it has been established that autophagy is an important protective mechanism for cells under stress from causes such as starvation by providing nutrients and removing protein aggregates and damaged mitochondria, the relationship between autophagy and cell death is complex. Autophagy can contribute to cell death via autophagic cell death or by being upstream of apoptosis. This complexity reflects the molecular overlap that exists between autophagy, apoptosis, and necrosis. The relationship between autophagy and cell death is only part of the role played by autophagy in cancer. Depending on the stage of tumor progression, autophagy can act as a tumor-suppressor mechanism or can help tumor cells cope with stressful situations generated by the tumoral environment or cancer treatment.

Keywords

Apoptosis  Macroautophagy  Necrosis  Tumor initiation  Tumor progression  

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maryam Mehrpour
    • 1
  • Ahmed Hamaï
    • 1
  • Patrice Codogno
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.INSERM 845Paris Descartes UniversityParisFrance

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