Autophagy as a Potential Therapeutic Target in Breast Cancer Treatment

Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2018;18(7):629-639. doi: 10.2174/1568009617666171114143330.


One of the crucial reasons of breast cancer therapy failure is an impairment of mechanisms responsible for metabolism and cellular homeostasis, which makes it difficult to foresee the response to the treatment. Targeted therapy in breast cancer is dictated by the expression of specific molecules such as growth factor or hormone receptors. Many types of breast cancer exhibit different abnormalities in the apoptotic pathway, which confer the resistance to many forms of chemotherapy. Because of the fundamental importance of autophagy in the development and progression of cancer and its ability to affect treatment response, there has been an immense research on molecular regulation and signal transduction mechanisms that control this process. Here, we summarize the present knowledge concerning different breast cancer treatment strategies using drugs approved for the treatment of different breast cancer molecular subtypes with targeting pathways and factors associated with autophagy modulation/ regulation.

Keywords: Autophagy; HDAC; breast cancer; lysosomes; microtubules; receptors; targeted therapy..

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autophagosomes / metabolism
  • Autophagy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • estrogen receptor alpha, human
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor, ErbB-2