The Therapeutic Potential of Targeting Autophagy in The Treatment of Cancer

Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2021 Jun 1. doi: 10.2174/1568009621666210601113144. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Autophagy is a mechanism by which unwanted cellular components are degraded through a pathway that involves the lysosomes and contributes to several pathological conditions such as cancer. Gastrointestinal cancers affect the digestive organs from the esophagus to the anus and are among the most commonly diagnosed cancers globally. The modulation of autophagy using pharmacologic agents potentially offers a great potential for cancer therapy. In this review, some commonly used compounds, together with their molecular target and the mechanism through which they stimulate or block the autophagy pathway as well as their therapeutic benefit in treating patients with gastrointestinal cancers, are summarized.

Keywords: Autophagy; gastrointestinal cancers; lysosomes; pharmacologic agents.