Autophagy and cancer metabolism

Juliet Goldsmith, Beth Levine, Jayanta Debnath

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

102 Scopus citations


The metabolism of malignant cells is profoundly altered in order to maintain their survival and proliferation in adverse microenvironmental conditions. Autophagy is an intracellular recycling process that maintains basal levels of metabolites and biosynthetic intermediates under starvation or other forms of stress, hence serving as an important mechanism for metabolic adaptation in cancer cells. Although it is widely acknowledged that autophagy sustains metabolism in neoplastic cells under duress, many questions remain with regard to the mutual relationship between autophagy and metabolism in cancer. Importantly, autophagy has often been described as a "double-edged sword" that can either impede or promote cancer initiation and progression. Here, we overview such a dual function of autophagy in tumorigenesis and our current understanding of the coordinated regulation of autophagy and cancer cell metabolism in the control of tumor growth, progression, and resistance to therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConceptual Background and Bioenergetic/Mitochondrial Aspects of Oncometabolism
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages33
ISBN (Print)9780124166189
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameMethods in Enzymology
ISSN (Print)0076-6879
ISSN (Electronic)1557-7988


  • Autophagy
  • Cancer metabolism
  • Cancer therapy
  • Glutaminolysis
  • Glycolysis
  • Hypoxia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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