Nuclear transcription factor Y (NF-Y) is an example of a transcriptional regulation factor in eukaryotes consisting of three different subunits, NF-YA, NF-YB and NF-YC, which are all necessary for formation of NF-Y complexes and binding to CCAAT boxes in promoters of its target genes. Highly conserved between human and Drosophila, NF-Y regulates transcription of various genes related to the cell cycle and various human diseases. Drosophila models have been widely used as tools for studying genetics and developmental biology and more recently for analyzing the functions of human disease genes, including those responsible for developmental and neurological disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease and metabolic and storage diseases, as well as genes required for function of the visual, auditory and immune systems. In this review, in vivo findings from Drosophila models relevant to the roles of NF-Y in various human diseases are summarized. Recent studies have demonstrated novel contributions of dNF-Y to apoptosis and apoptosis-induced proliferation, and in photoreceptor cell differentiation during the development of the Drosophila compound eye.
Transcription factors; NF-Y; NF-YB; apoptosis; Drosophila model
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and has been linked to inflammation. Leukotriene B4 (LTB4) is synthesized from arachidonic acid via the 5-lipoxygenase pathway and is a potent chemoattractant for inflammatory cells. LTB4 was recently shown to be associated with the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases, including cancer. Of the two known LTB4 receptors, BLT1 and BLT2, the biological roles of the low-affinity LTB4 receptor 2, BLT2, have only recently been elucidated. This review focuses on recent discoveries regarding BLT2 and its roles in cancer progression and the downstream signaling mechanisms of the BLT2-linked signaling cascade in cancer cells. We believe that these findings will facilitate the development of new cancer treatments.
Leukotriene B4 receptor 2 (BLT2); leukotriene B4; NADPH oxidase; reactive oxygen species; nuclear factor-kB; cancer progression
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, with the number of affected people increasing. There are many risk factors that increase CRC risk, including family or personal history of CRC, smoking, consumption of red meat, obesity, and alcohol consumption. Conversely, increased screening, maintaining healthy body weight, not smoking, and limiting intake of red meat are all associated with reduced CRC morbidity and mortality. Mouse models of CRC were first used in 1928 and have played an important role in understanding CRC biology and treatment and have long been instrumental in clarifying the pathobiology of CRC formation and inhibition. This review focuses on advancements in modeling CRC in mice.
Colorectal cancer; human; mouse models; tumorigenesis; Apc; FAP; HNPCC; stem cells
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process of cellular self-digestion that serves as a mechanism to clear damaged organelles and recycle nutrients. Since autophagy can promote cell survival as well as cell death, it has been linked to different human pathologies, including cancer. Although mono-allelic deletion of autophagy-related gene BECN1 in breast tumors originally indicated a tumor suppressive role for autophagy in breast cancer, the intense research during the last decade suggests a role for autophagy in tumor progression. It is now recognized that tumor cells often utilize autophagy to survive various stresses, such as oncogene-induced transformation, hypoxia, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and extracellular matrix detachment. Induction of autophagy by tumor cells may also contribute to tumor dormancy and resistance to anticancer therapies, thus making autophagy inhibitors promising drug candidates for breast cancer treatment. The scientific endeavors continue to define a precise role for autophagy in breast cancer. In this article, we review the current literature on the role of autophagy during the development and progression of breast cancer, and discuss the potential of autophagy modulators for breast cancer treatment.
Autophagy; breast cancer; transformation; hypoxia; ER stress; tumor microenvironment; metabolism; metastasis; apoptosis; cancer therapy
Central nervous system (CNS) metastasis from breast cancer may be characterized as either parenchymal brain metastasis (BM) or leptomeningeal (LM) metastasis. BM are much more common (about 80% of all CNS metastases), and have been more extensively studied than LM. CNS metastasis in breast cancer has been associated with reduced overall survival, with the shortest survival generally observed in cases of LM. Here, we review the epidemiology, prognostic factors, diagnostic tools, currently available treatments, and potential future therapies for LM from breast cancer.
Leptomeningeal metastases; intrathecal chemotherapy; breast cancer
Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most commonly diagnosed male malignancy and the second biggest cause of cancer death in men of the Western world. Higher incidences of PCa occur in men from North America, Oceania and Western countries, whereas men from Asia and North Africa have a much lower PCa incidence rate. Investigations into this population disparity of PCa incidence, in order to identify potential preventive factors or targets for the therapeutic intervention of PCa, have found differences in both environmental and genetic variations between these populations. Environmental variations include both diet and lifestyle, which vary widely between populations. Evidence that diet comes into play has been shown by men who immigrate from Eastern to Western countries. PCa incidence in these men is higher than men in their native countries. However the number of immigrants developing PCa still doesn’t match native black/white men, therefore genetic factors also contribute to PCa risk, which are supported by familial studies. There are a number of genetic polymorphisms that are differentially presented between Western and Eastern men, which are potentially associated with PCa incidence. Androgen and its receptor (AR) play a major role in PCa development and progression. In this study, we focus on genes involved in androgen biosynthesis and metabolism, as well as those associated with AR pathway, whose polymorphisms affect androgen level and biological or physiological functions of androgen. While many of the genetic polymorphisms in this androgen/AR system showed different frequencies between populations, contradictory evidences exist for most of these genes investigated individually as to the true contribution to PCa risk. More accurate measurements of androgen activity within the prostate are required and further studies need to include more African and Asian subjects. As many of these genetic polymorphisms may contribute to different steps in the same biological/physiological function of androgen and AR pathway, an integrated analysis considering the combined effect of all the genetic polymorphisms may be necessary to assess their contribution to PCa initiation and progression.
Prostate cancer; ethnical disparity; risk factors; genetic polymorphism; androgen; androgen receptor
Objectives: Identification of the most influential scientific publications and directions of mainstream reirradiation research. Methods: A systematic search of the database Scopus (Elsevier B.V., www.scopus.com) was performed, which focused on the time period 1998-2010. Patterns of citation were analysed (total number of citations accumulated independently of their origin and proportion of highly cited articles, arbitrarily defined as those with ≥50 citations). Results: Up to 64 articles were published each year. Numbers increased over time, especially after the year 2007. Among all 76 articles with at least 50 citations, 28 (37%) focused on head and neck cancer, 27 (36%) on brain tumours including metastases, and 5 (7%) on bone metastases. Most articles evaluated external beam approaches while 10 (13%) focused on brachytherapy. Many of the often quoted publications reported on stereotactic and/or intensity-modulated radiotherapy. Two (3%) reported on randomised clinical studies and 10 (13%) on non-randomised prospective clinical studies (single institution or cooperative group). Only two articles (3%) reported on experimental animal studies. Conclusions: The number of published reirradiation studies has increased in recent years. Many studies examined highly conformal and precise radiotherapy, in particular of brain and head and neck tumours. Given that few randomised clinical trials were published, efforts to increase this type of research activity are warranted.
Radiotherapy; radiation oncology; radiation retreatment; reirradiation; citation; research evaluation
Mastocytosis is a rare disease characterized by abnormal expansion and accumulation of tissue mast cells (MC) in one or multiple organs. In most adult patients, systemic mastocytosis (SM) is diagnosed. Based on histopathological findings and organ damage, SM is divided into indolent SM (ISM), smoldering SM (SSM), SM with an associated hematologic non-MC-lineage disease (SM-AHNMD), aggressive SM (ASM), and MC leukemia (MCL). The clinical course and prognosis vary greatly among these groups of patients. In all variants of SM and most patients, neoplastic cells display the KIT mutation D816V. This suggests that additional KIT-independent molecular defects cause progression. Indeed, additional oncogenic lesions, including RAS- and TET2 mutations, have recently been identified in advanced SM. In patients with SM-AHNMD, such additional lesions are often detectable in the ‘AHNMD-component’ of the disease. Clinically relevant symptoms of SM result from i) malignant MC infiltration and the subsequent organ damage seen in advanced SM and/or ii) the release of pro-inflammatory and vasoactive mediators from MC, found in all disease-variants. Therapy of SM has to be adjusted to the individual situation in each patient. In ISM, the aim is to control mediator release and mediator effects. In advanced SM, a major goal is to control MC expansion by using conventional drugs or novel targeted drugs directed against mutant forms of KIT and/or other pro-oncogenic kinase-targets. In rapidly progressing ASM, MCL and drug-resistant AHNMD, chemotherapy and subsequent stem cell transplantation has to be considered.
Mastocytosis; mast cells; rare disease; KIT mutations; targeted therapy
Cholesterol is a fundamental molecule for life. Located in the cell membrane, this sterol participates to the cell signaling of growth factors. Inside the cell it can be converted in hormones such as androgens or modulate the immune response. Such important functions could not be solely dependent of external supply by diet hence de novo synthesis could occur from acetate in almost all mammalian cells. If a deficiency in cholesterol sourcing leads to development troubles, overstocking has been associated to various diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancers. Cholesterol homeostasis should thus be tightly regulated at the uptake, de novo synthesis, storage and export processes. Various transcription factors have been described these last years as important to regulate cholesterol levels. Besides, synthetic molecules have been developed for many years to modulate cholesterol synthesis, such as statins. Many articles have associated prostate cancer, whose incidence is constantly increasing, to cholesterol disequilibrium. Targeting cholesterol could thus be a new pharmacological hit to counteract the initiation, development and/or progression of prostate cancer. Among the transcription factors regulating cholesterol homeostasis, the nuclear receptors Liver X Receptors (LXRs) control cholesterol uptake and export. Targeting the LXRs offers a new field of investigation to treat cancer. This review highlights the molecular relationships among LXRs, prostate cancer and cholesterol and why LXRs have good chance to be targeted one day in this tumor. LXRs, prostate cancer and cholesterol, more than a “Ménage à trois”, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
LXR; cholesterol; prostate cancer; lipid raft; pharmacological modulation
Endosulfatases HSulf-1 and -2 (also referred to as Sulf1 and -2) represent a family of enzymes that modulate heparin binding growth factor signaling. Heparan sulfatase 1 (HSulf-1) and heparan sulfatase 2 (HSulf-2) are two important 6-O endosulfatases which remove or edit 6-O sulfate residues of N-glucosamine present on highly sulfated HS. Alteration of heparan sulfatases have been identified in the context of several cancer types. Many cancer types either exhibit increased or decreased HSulfs expression at the transcript levels. Specifically, HSulf-1 was found to be downregulated in early-stage ovarian tumors, hepatocellular carcinoma, and metastatic breast cancer patients. HSulf-2 was found to be upregulated in ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive ductal carcinoma, whereas limited information is present about HSulf-2 expression in different stages of ovarian cancers. Here, we review the important role of these sulfatases play in ovarian and breast cancers in terms of tumorigenesis such as angiogenesis, chemoresistance, apoptosis, growth factor signaling, hypoxia and metastasis. These recent discoveries have added significant understanding about these sulfate editing enzymes.
Ovarian and breast cancer; heparin binding growth factor signaling; tumorigenesis; angiogenesis; chemoresponse and metastasis
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths worldwide. Breast cancer-related mortality is associated with the development of metastatic potential of primary tumor lesions. The chemokine receptor CXCR4 has been found to be a prognostic marker in various types of cancer, including breast cancer. Recent advances in the field of cancer biology has pointed to the critical role that CXCR4 receptor and its ligand CXCL12 play in the metastasis of various types of cancer, including breast cancer. Breast tumors preferentially metastasize to the lung, bones and lymph nodes, all of which represent organs that secrete high levels of CXCL12. CXCL12 acts as a chemoattractant that drives CXCR4-positive primary tumor cells towards secondary metastatic sites leading to the onset of metastatic lesions. Since its discovery in 2001, the CXCR4 field has progressed at a very fast rate and further studies have pointed to the role of CXCR4 in dissemination of tumor cells from primary sites, transendothelial migration of tumor cells as well as the trafficking and homing of cancer stem cells. This review summarizes the information that has been obtained over the years regarding the role of CXCL12-CXCR4 signaling in breast cancer, discusses its potential application to the development of new therapeutic tools for breast cancer control, and elucidates the potential therapeutic challenges which lie ahead and the future directions that this field can take for the improvement of prognosis in breast cancer patients.
CXCR4; CXCL12; breast cancer
High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), an evolutionarily highly conserved and abundant nuclear protein also has roles within the cytoplasm and as an extracellular damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) molecule. Extracellular HMGB1 is the prototypic endogenous ‘danger signal’ that triggers inflammation and immunity. Recent findings suggest that posttranslational modifications dictate the cellular localization and secretion of HMGB1. HMGB1 is actively secreted from immune cells and stressed cancer cells, or passively released from necrotic cells. During cancer development or administration of therapeutic agents including chemotherapy, radiation, epigenetic drugs, oncolytic viruses, or immunotherapy, the released HMGB1 may either promote or limit cancer growth, depending on the state of progression and vascularization of the tumor. Extracellular HMGB1 enhances autophagy and promotes persistence of surviving cancer cells following initial activation. When oxidized, it chronically suppresses the immune system to promote cancer growth and progression, thereby enhancing resistance to cancer therapeutics. In its reduced form, it can facilitate and elicit innate and adaptive anti-tumor immunity, recruiting and activating immune cells, in conjunction with cytotoxic agents, particularly in early transplantable tumor models. We hypothesize that HMGB1 also functions as an epigenetic modifier, mainly through regulation of NF-kB-dependent signaling pathways, to modulate the behavior of surviving cancer cells as well as the immune cells found within the tumor microenvironment. This has significant implications for developing novel cancer therapeutics.
Cancer; HMGB1; NF-kB signaling; activation; innate immunity; dendritic cells; CD8+ T cells; epigenetic pathways
During carcinogenesis, tumors induce dysfunctional development of hematopoietic cells. Myeloid lineage cells, in the form of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and alternatively polarized M2 macrophages, influence almost all types of cancers by regulating diverse facets of immunosuppression, angiogenesis, cell proliferation, growth and metastasis. One-third of Americans are obese, and accumulating evidence suggests that obesity is a risk factor for various cancers. However, the relationship between these immune players and obesity are not well-described. In this review, we evaluate potential mechanisms through which different aspects of obesity, namely insulin resistance, increased estrogen, adiposity and low grade chronic inflammation from adipose tissue macrophages, may coalesce to promote MDSC induction and M2 macrophage polarization, thereby facilitating cancer development. Detailed understanding of the interplay between obesity and myeloid mediated immunosuppression may provide novel avenues for therapeutic targeting, with the goal to reduce the challenge obesity presents towards gains made in cancer outcomes.
Obesity; inflammation; myeloid derived suppressor cells; alternately activated macrophage; cancer
Therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that target the CD20 antigen on B cells are successfully used in the clinic for the depletion of B cells to treat various forms of cancer and autoimmune diseases. The first CD20 mAb, approved by the FDA in 1998, was rituximab (RTX) and since then it has been widely used to treat more than one million patients thus far. The success of RTX has led to a general interest in the mechanism of action of CD20 mAbs. CD20 mAbs can induce tumor killing via various mechanisms, such as direct induction of apoptosis, antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) or complement-dependent lysis (CDC). Although we now understand these mechanisms better, it is still unclear which of these mechanisms is the most important for in vivo RTX action. Not every patient respond to RTX treatment and eventually the overwhelming majority will experience a relapse. Therefore, there is an urgent need to improve the efficacy of CD20 mAbs. This review aims to summarize our current understanding on the mechanism of action of CD20 mAbs.
Antibodies; CD20; effector mechanisms; Fc receptors; complement; complement receptors; apoptosis
Recent technological advancements in gene expression analysis have led to the discovery of a promising new group of prostate cancer (PCa) biomarkers that have the potential to influence diagnosis and the prediction of disease severity. The accumulation of deleterious changes in gene expression is a fundamental mechanism of prostate carcinogenesis. Aberrant gene expression can arise from changes in epigenetic regulation or mutation in the genome affecting either key regulatory elements or gene sequences themselves. At the epigenetic level, a myriad of abnormal histone modifications and changes in DNA methylation are found in PCa patients. In addition, many mutations in the genome have been associated with higher PCa risk. Finally, over- or underexpression of key genes involved in cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, cell adhesion and regulation of transcription has been observed. An interesting group of biomarkers are emerging from these studies which may prove more predictive than the standard prostate specific antigen (PSA) serum test. In this review, we discuss recent results in the field of gene expression analysis in PCa including the most promising biomarkers in the areas of epigenetics, genomics and the transcriptome, some of which are currently under investigation as clinical tests for early detection and better prognostic prediction of PCa.
Prostate cancer; biomarker; epigenetics; methylation; acetylation; ncRNA; genomics; SNP; transcriptomics; miRNA; lncRNA
The c-Jun N-terminal Kinases (JNK), along with Erk and p38, constitute the principle members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family. JNK functions primarily through AP1 family transcription factors to regulate a plethora of cellular processes, including cell proliferation, differentiation, survival and migration. It also cross-talks and integrates with other signaling pathways in a cell context-specific and cell type-specific manner. The current views of JNK function in various skin cancers and the need of developing JNK subunit-specific inhibitors for cancer type-specific applications have been summarized in this review.
JNK; skin cancer; squamous cell carcinoma; basal cell carcinoma; cylindroma
Genome-wide studies have revealed that human and other mammalian genomes are pervasively transcribed and produce thousands of regulatory non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), including miRNAs, siRNAs, piRNAs and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). Emerging evidences suggest that these ncRNAs also play a pivotal role in genome integrity and stability via the regulation of DNA damage response (DDR). In this review, we discuss the recent finding on the interplay of ncRNAs with the canonical DDR signaling pathway, with a particular emphasis on miRNAs and lncRNAs. While the expression of ncRNAs is regulated in the DDR, the DDR is also subjected to regulation by those DNA damage-responsive ncRNAs. In addition, the roles of those Dicer- and Drosha-dependent small RNAs produced in the vicinity of double-strand breaks sites are also described.
DNA damage response; ncRNAs; miRNAs; lncRNAs; crosstalk
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the result of a multistep transforming process of hematopoietic precursor cells (HPCs) which enables them to proceed through limitless numbers of cell cycles and to become resistant to cell death. Increased proliferation renders these cells vulnerable to acquiring mutations and may favor leukemic transformation. Here, we review how deregulated cell cycle control contributes to increased proliferation in AML and favors genomic instability, a prerequisite to confer selective advantages to particular clones in order to adapt and independently proliferate in the presence of a changing microenvironment. We discuss the connection between differentiation and proliferation with regard to leukemogenesis and outline the impact of specific alterations on response to therapy. Finally, we present examples, how a better understanding of cell cycle regulation and deregulation has already led to new promising therapeutic strategies.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML); cell cycle; genetic instability; proliferation; differentiation
Recent studies revealed that tumor-associated macrophages play a decisive role in the regulation of tumor progression by manipulating tumor oncogenesis, angiogenesis and immune functions within tumor microenvironments. However, the role of cancer stem cells in the tumorigenic activities of tumor-associated macrophages during the course of transformation and treatment remains largely unknown. Recent studies have clarified the functional aspects of tumor-associated macrophages in the regulation of the tumorigenic activities and anticancer drug responsiveness of cancer stem cells through complex networks formed by distinct sets of cytokines, chemokines and growth factors. In this article we discuss recent advances and future perspectives regarding the molecular interplay between cancer stem cells and tumor-associated macrophages and provide future perspective about the therapeutic implication against treatment-resistant variants of cancer.
Cancer stem cells; tumor associated macrophages; tumor microenvironments; MFG-E8; IL-6; TIM-3; M-CSF
Epigenetic dysregulation is being increasingly recognized as a hallmark of cancer. Post-translational modifications of histones, in particular, are known to play important roles gene expression alterations in cancer development and progression. Given their key involvement in the various stages of carcinogenesis, histone modifications are also being explored as potential biomarkers of disease progression and prognosis. This review will therefore discuss the role of histone modifications in cancer biology and will explore their prognostic potential.
Histone modifications; cancer; biomarkers; prognosis
Disturbances in microRNA expression by epigenetic alterations and mutations may
promote not only tumorigenesis but also tumor aggressiveness, invasion,
metastasis, and resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Several studies
have profiled microRNA expression in normal and tumorigenic tissues,
demonstrating a unique microRNA signature, which can be used as a marker for
cancer diagnosis and prognosis. This review discusses the importance of
microRNAs as regulatory biomolecules involved in cancer, focusing on microRNAs
related to cancer invasion, metastasis, epigenetic alterations, chemoresistance,
and radioresistance. The identification of both differentially expressed
microRNAs in tumors and their target genes provides new tools for gene therapy;
the re-expression of microRNAs silenced by cancer development or the silencing
of oncogenic microRNAs can be effective in the blockade of cancer-related cell
MicroRNA; epigenetic modifications; metastasis; chemotherapy; radiotherapy
Although p62/SQSTM1 was initially identified as an essential mediator of NFκB signaling, several recent studies have also highlighted its important role at the crossroad between the mTOR or MAPK signaling pathways and selective autophagy. The p62 structure containing important interaction domains attests to the ability of this protein to regulate and modulate the activation of these signaling pathways during tumor formation and propagation. The second very important function of this protein is to act as a molecular adaptor between the autophagic machinery and its substrates. Consequently, p62 is degraded following an increase in autophagic flux for which this protein currently serves as an indicator. However, the measurement of p62 expression strictly as a marker of autophagic flux is still controversial and can be misinterpreted mainly because this protein is subject to complex regulation at both the transcriptional and post-translational levels. Finally, because p62 is an autophagic substrate, it acts as a molecular link between cancer and autophagy by conferring a high level of selectivity through the degradation of important signaling molecules.
Paget’s disease; mTOR; NFκB; NRF2; MAPK; Atg; ROS; ubiquitin; protein aggregates; oxidative stress
Cancer is a genetic disease, grows exponentially with the development of intrinsic and acquired treatment resistance. Past decade has witnessed a considerable progress towards the treatment and understanding of proposed hallmarks of cancer and together with advances in early detection and various treatment modalities. Radiation therapy is an integral part of cancer treatment armamentarium. In developed countries more than half of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy during their course of illness. Although radiation damages both cancer and normal cells, the goal of radiation therapy is to maximize the radiation dose to abnormal cancer cells while minimizing exposure to normal cells, which is adjacent to cancer cells or in the path of radiation. In recent years, life expectancy increases among cancer patients and this increase is due to the results of early diagnosis, screening efforts, improved treatments and with less late effects mostly secondary cancer development. Therefore, cancer survivorship issues have been gaining prominence in the area of radiation oncology research. Understanding the tradeoff between the expected decreases in normal tissue toxicity resulting from an improved radiation dose distribution to the targeted site is an increasingly pertinent, yet needed attention and research in the area of radiation oncology. In recent years, a number of potential molecular targets that involve either with radiation increased tumor cell killing or protecting normal cells have been identified. For clinical benefits, translating these findings to maximize the toxicity of radiation on tumor cells while safeguarding early or late normal cell toxicities using molecular targeted radioprotectors will be useful in radiation treatment.
Cancer; radiation therapy; radioprotectors; normal genome maintenance
Breast cancer occurs at a high frequency in women and, given this fact, a primary focus of breast cancer research has been the study of estrogen receptor α (ER) signaling. However, androgens are known to play a role in normal breast physiology and therefore androgen receptor (AR) signaling is becoming increasingly recognized as an important contributor towards breast carcinogenesis. Moreover, the high frequency of AR expression in breast cancer makes it an attractive therapeutic target, but the ability to exploit AR for therapy has been difficult. Here we review the historical use of androgen/anti-androgen therapies in breast cancer, the challenges of accurately modeling nuclear hormone receptor signaling in vitro, and the presence and prognostic significance of AR in breast cancer.
Androgen receptor; MAP kinase; breast cancer; p21; androgens
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cancer to cause death due to advanced stage at diagnosis and poor response to current treatment. Autophagy is the lysosome-mediated degradation pathway which plays a critical role in cellular defense, quality control, and energy metabolism. Targeting autophagy is now an exciting field for translational cancer research, as autophagy dysfunction is among the hallmarks of cancer. Pancreatic tumors have elevated autophagy under basal conditions when compared with other epithelial cancers. This review describes our current understanding of the interaction between autophagy and pancreatic cancer development, including risk factors (e.g., pancreatitis, smoking, and alcohol use), tumor microenvironment (e.g., hypoxia and stromal cells), and molecular biology (e.g., K-Ras and p53) of pancreatic cancer. The importance of the HMGB1-RAGE pathway in regulation of autophagy and pancreatic cancer is also presented. Finally, we describe current studies involving autophagy inhibition using either pharmacological inhibitors (e.g., chloroquine) or RNA interference of essential autophagy genes that regulate chemotherapy sensitivity in pancreatic cancer. Summarily, autophagy plays multiple roles in the regulation of pancreatic cancer pathogenesis and treatment, although the exact mechanisms remain unknown.
Autophagy; pancreatic cancer; oncogene; hypoxia; pancreatitis; HMGB1; RAGE; p53; HIF1α; AMPK