Autophagy: The Strange Dining Habits of Cancer Cells

September 10, 2010

NCI Cancer Bulletin

Ravi Amaravadi, MD, assistant professor of medicine, comments in the NCI Cancer Bulletin, about autophagy -- when cells with limited access to oxygen, growth factors, and nutrients engage in self-cannibalism. Although autophagy may be able to kill cells, in tumor cells its survival-promoting abilities appear to trump any propensity it may have to induce death, explained Amaravadi. But based on what's been seen in lab-based studies, he cautioned, there may be substantial differences in the autophagy activity in different cancer types, or even from tumor to tumor. Nevertheless, the available evidence suggests that autophagy "seems to be a process that could be important in many cancers." Read More