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The significance of autophagy in colorectal cancer pathogenesis and implications for therapy
  1. K Lai1,2,3,4,5,
  2. M C Killingsworth2,4,5,
  3. C S Lee1,2,5,6
  1. 1Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Discipline of Pathology and Molecular Medicine Research Group, School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Department of Pathology, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4Electron Microscopy Laboratory, Liverpool Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  5. 5Department of Anatomical Pathology, Liverpool Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  6. 6Department of Cancer Pathology, Bosch Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Ken Lai, Discipline of Pathology and Molecular Medicine Research Group, School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Building K, College street, Liverpool, NSW 2170, Australia; ken.lai{at}uws.edu.au

Abstract

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common cancers in developed countries with poor survival outcome in advanced stages of the disease due to its resistance to chemotherapy and other forms of treatment. New and alternative approaches are needed to overcome the tumour cells’ capacity for survival and to drive the tumour towards cell death. Autophagy is a mechanism involved in the elimination of damaged cellular components through lysosomal degradation and is capable of inducing programmed cell death. The process has recently gained much interest in understanding the pathogenesis of CRC and its potential for treatment of the disease due to its role in host protection and anticancer activity. This review describes and illustrates the fundamental mechanisms of autophagy, its importance as a prognostic marker and the current approaches to harness its protective and anticancer activity in CRC therapy.

  • COLORECTAL CANCER
  • CELL BIOLOGY
  • TUMOUR MARKERS

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