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Functions of autophagy in the tumor microenvironment and cancer metastasis

Abstract

Macro‐autophagy is an ancient and highly‐conserved self‐degradative process that plays a homeostatic role in normal cells by eliminating organelles, pathogens and protein aggregates. Autophagy, as it is routinely referred to, also allows cells to maintain metabolic sufficiency and survive under conditions of nutrient stress by recycling the by‐products of autophagic degradation, such as fatty acids, amino acids and nucleotides. Tumor cells are more reliant than normal cells on autophagy for survival in part due to their rapid growth rate, altered metabolism and nutrient deprived growth environment. How this dependence of tumor cells on autophagy affects their progression to malignancy and metastatic disease is an area of increasing research focus. Here, we review recent work identifying critical functions for autophagy in tumor cell migration and invasion, tumor stem cell maintenance and therapy resistance and cross‐talk between tumor cells and their microenvironment.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Authors:   Erin E. Mowers, Marina N Sharifi, Kay F. MacLeod
Journal:   FEBS Journal
Year:   2018
Pages:   n/a
DOI:   10.1111/febs.14388
Publication date:   21-Jan-2018
Facts, background information, dossiers
  • cells
  • tumor cells
  • autophagy
  • stress
  • Research
  • recycling
  • protein aggregates
  • pathogens
  • environment
  • dependence
  • copyright
  • cell migration
  • cancer metastasis
  • amino acids
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