Autophagy in Cancer Therapy: Progress and Issues


  • Jia-Jie Shi Division of Anti-Tumor Pharmacology, State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, People’s Republic of China
  • Ling-Hua Meng Division of Anti-Tumor Pharmacology, State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, People’s Republic of China



Autophagy, cancer therapy, chloroquine, selective inhibitor.


 Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved intracellular self-digestion process, which mediates homeostasis in response to various stresses via degradation of damaged organelles or unnecessary proteins. It has been demonstrated that autophagy involves in tumorigenesis and progression. Autophagy serves either as tumor suppressor or promotor in a context-dependent way. It has been revealed in multiple studies that autophagy plays a pro-survival role upon treatment of anticancer drugs. Thus, combination of autophagy inhibitors with anticancer drugs may provide a desirable strategy to improve therapeutic efficacy. In this review, we summarize recent progress in the process and regulation of autophagy with a highlight in advances in the role of autophagy in cancer treatment. We also summarize some recent clinical outcomes of combinatorial use of autophagy inhibitors and anticancer drugs, and introduce latest discovered selective autophagy inhibitors. Some issues which should be paid attention to during the research to improve the clinical outcomes are discussed.


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How to Cite

Jia-Jie Shi, & Ling-Hua Meng. (2015). Autophagy in Cancer Therapy: Progress and Issues. Journal of Cancer Research Updates, 4(1),  1–12.