Autophagy as a pharmacological target in hematopoiesis and hematological disorders

Biochem Pharmacol. 2018 Jun;152:347-361. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2018.04.007. Epub 2018 Apr 13.


Autophagy is involved in many cellular processes, including cell homeostasis, cell death/survival balance and differentiation. Autophagy is essential for hematopoietic stem cell survival, quiescence, activation and differentiation. The deregulation of this process is associated with numerous hematological disorders and pathologies, including cancers. Thus, the use of autophagy modulators to induce or inhibit autophagy emerges as a potential therapeutic approach for treating these diseases and could be particularly interesting for differentiation therapy of leukemia cells. This review presents therapeutic strategies and pharmacological agents in the context of hematological disorders. The pros and cons of autophagy modulators in therapy will also be discussed.

Keywords: Autophagy; Cancer therapy; Hematopoietic differentiation; Inflammation; Leukemia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Autophagy*
  • Hematologic Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Hematopoiesis / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*