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Arch Hellen Med, 35(1), January-February 2018, 50-56


Unraveling the role of autophagy in cancer: Cellular protection or cytotoxicity?

M. Margariti,1 M. Goulielmaki,1 A. Kyriakopoulos,2 I. Christodoulou,1 V. Zoumpoulis1
1Unit of Biomedical Applications, Institute of Biology, Medicinal Chemistry and Biotechnology, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens,
2Department of Research and Development, Laboratory of Biotechnology, Nasco AD, Pireus, Greece

Autophagy is considered to be a survival promoting process that ensures cell survival under conditions of stress, through protein and organelle recycling. Although the role of autophagy in normal cells is fairly clear, in cancer cells it has been found both to promote and to suppress tumorigenesis. In contrast to normal cells, DNA repair and autophagy observed in tumor cells have been identified as the most important drug-responsive programs impacting the outcome of anticancer treatment. The exact relationship between DNA repair and autophagy in cancer cells remains unclear. This is a review of the role of autophagy in cancer and the interplay between DNA repair mechanisms and autophagy.

Key words: Anticancer therapy, Autophagy, DNA damage, DNA repair, Tumorigenesis.

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