Pros and Cons of Chaperone-Mediated Autophagy in Cancer Biology

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42 Scopus citations


Autophagy contributes to cellular quality control and energetics through lysosomal breakdown and recycling of essential cellular components. Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) adds to these autophagic functions the ability to timely and selectively degrade single tagged proteins to terminate their cellular function and, in this way, participate in the regulation of multiple cellular processes. Many cancer cells upregulate CMA for protumorigenic and prosurvival purposes. However, growing evidence supports a physiological role for CMA in limiting malignant transformation. Understanding the mechanisms behind this functional switch of CMA from antioncogenic to pro-oncogenic is fundamental for targeting CMA in cancer treatment. We summarize current understanding of CMA functions in cancer biology and discuss the basis for its context-dependent dual role in oncogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-66
Number of pages14
JournalTrends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • chaperones
  • lysosomes
  • metabolism
  • oncogenes
  • protein degradation
  • tumorigenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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