Author(s): Zarzynska JM
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Abstract Breast cancer (BC) is a potentially life-threatening malignant tumor that still causes high mortality among women. One of the mechanisms through which cancer development could be controlled is autophagy. This process exerts different effects during the stages of cancer initiation and progression due to the occurring superimposition of signaling pathways of autophagy and carcinogenesis. Chronic inhibition of autophagy or autophagy deficiency promotes cancer, due to instability of the genome and defective cell growth and as a result of cell stress. However, increased induction of autophagy can become a mechanism which allows tumor cells to survive the conditions of hypoxia, acidosis, or chemotherapy. Therefore, in the development of cancer, autophagy is regarded as a double-edged sword. Determination of the molecular mechanisms underlying autophagy regulation and its role in tumorigenesis is an essential component of modern anticancer strategies. Results of scientific studies show that inhibition of autophagy may enhance the effectiveness of currently used anticancer drugs and other therapies (like radiotherapy). However, in some cases, the promotion of autophagy can induce death and, hence, elimination of the cancer cells and reduction of tumor size. This review summarizes the current knowledge on autophagy regulation in BC and up-to-date anticancer strategies correlated with autophagy.
This article was published in Biomed Res Int
and referenced in Journal of Nuclear Medicine & Radiation Therapy