Thursday, March 06, 2008

Autophagy and Radiation Resistance

Autophagy is a cellular process that involves the lysosomal degradation of macromolecules or organelles within the cell. It plays a role in cellular homeostasis, response to infection and potentially as a cell death mechanism. Autophagy has also been shown to be activated in tumour cells after cancer treatment, but whether autophagy is playing a role in survival or death in this context is unclear.

A recent paper in Cancer Research explores the role of autophagy in cancer. They find that irradiation of cancer cells induced autophagy-related genes and accumulation of autophagosomes and that downregulation of some of these genes sensitized resistant cell lines to radiation. This suggests a survival role for autophagy in radiation-resistant cell lines, though the authors note that "the inhibition of autophagy in cancer cells may vary dependent on the type of cancer, individual characteristics of cancer cells, microenvironments, and therapeutic treatment." However other studies have shown that suppression of autophagy enhances tumorigenesis. In spite of this, inhibition of autophagy combined with radiation may be a viable treatment strategy provided the proper cancer-types and conditions can be determined, as well as the proper target (SirT1?).
ResearchBlogging.org


5 comments:

Ben said...

But the real question is: How do you say it?

Anonymous said...

Obviously it is AUtophagy not auTOphagy as the auto part is the same root as autoimmune ect. as it is a process of cellular self eating. Pronouncing it auTOphagy suggests you don't understand the origin of the word.

Ben said...

"Pronouncing it auTOphagy suggests you don't understand the origin of the word."

Apparently neither do American Heritage or Merriam-Webster. Or, maybe—just maybe—that's how it's supposed to be said!

Ben said...

American Heritage: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/autophagy

Merriam-Webster: http://medical.merriam-webster.com/medical/autophagy

pSIVA said...

Hello,

Thank you for the good writeup. Autophagy has been proposed to play an important role in both tumor progression and promotion of cancer cell death, which promoting tumor cell death may have therapeutic implications in the treatment of cancer...