Autophagy is the process by which the cell recycles damaged or unwanted components. Recently, repression of autophagy has become an attractive anti-cancer therapeutic strategy, however, there are reports that autophagy inhibition may also promote tumour invasion and metastasis. To investigate these concerns, Ludwig Oxford’s Yihua Wang from Xin Lu’s lab studied the effect of autophagy inhibition on the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), a key step in tumour metastasis. Their results, published in Autophagy, show that autophagy inhibition promotes the EMT in tumours whose growth is driven by mutation of the Ras family of growth-promoting proteins but not in tumours with normal Ras. This work has implications on how these new therapies are used to treat RAS-mutated cancer.
Caution over novel anti-cancer therapies that inhibit autophagy
20 February 2019