Study suggests that autophagy inhibitors could improve efficacy of chemotherapies

October 24, 2016

Chemotherapies treat cancer by killing tumor cells, but certain types of chemotherapy can also drive an immune system response to target and destroy the remaining tumor cells.

This immune targeting is elicited by molecules called damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPS) that are released when a cell is killed. DAMPs are normally degraded in a process called autophagy, and it has been suggested that limiting the efficiency of autophagy could improve the efficacy of some chemotherapies. However, because autophagy is also critical to other aspects of immune system function, it is possible that inhibiting autophagy could backfire and compromise chemotherapy-driven immune targeting instead.

This week in the JCI, research led by Jayanta Debnath at UCSF has shown that inhibiting autophagy does not impair the immune response to tumors during chemotherapy, providing support for the idea that combining autophagy inhibitors with certain chemotherapies may aid cancer treatment.

In mouse models of cancer, treatment with autophagy inhibitors did not affect how immune cells targeted tumors during chemotherapy, in spite of other changes in general . These results suggest that inhibiting may be a safe combinatorial treatment to enhance the cancer-killing effects of certain chemotherapies.

Explore further: Discovery reveals how protective immune cells protect themselves

More information: Hanna Starobinets et al, Antitumor adaptive immunity remains intact following inhibition of autophagy and antimalarial treatment, Journal of Clinical Investigation (2016). DOI: 10.1172/JCI85705

Related Stories

Discovery reveals how protective immune cells protect themselves

January 25, 2016
Researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have discovered the mechanism by which immune cells called regulatory T cells keep themselves intact and functional during their demanding task of holding the immune system ...

Autophagy-addicted breast cancers killed by anti-malaria drug, chloroquine

April 8, 2013
The process of autophagy cleans cells – they wrap up the bad stuff and then dispose of it. And so it stands to reason that inhibiting autophagy would make cancer cells less able to cleanse themselves of chemotherapy and ...

Zombie cancer cells eat themselves to live

April 5, 2014
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the journal Cell Reports and presented today at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Conference 2014 shows that the cellular process ...

Cells' garbage disposal may hold key to healthier life

October 3, 2016
Autophagy, the little-understood method by which human cells dispose of harmful waste and unwelcome intruders, may one day be central to therapies for longer, healthier living, experts said.

Researchers find new target for kidney cancer therapy

November 10, 2014
Cincinnati Cancer Center (CCC) researchers have discovered that a membrane channel, Transient Receptor Potential Melastatin 3, or TRPM3, promotes growth of kidney cancer tumors, and targeting this channel therapeutically ...

Research reveals mechanism behind cell protein remodeling

September 3, 2014
The remodeling of a kitchen or bathroom changes the appearance of the room and improves its functionality. As investigators at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers and Princeton Universities have demonstrated, ...

Recommended for you

One in five young colon cancer patients have genetic link

December 13, 2017
As doctors grapple with increasing rates of colorectal cancers in young people, new research from the University of Michigan may offer some insight into how the disease developed and how to prevent further cancers. Researchers ...

New strategy for unleashing cancer-fighting power of p53 gene

December 13, 2017
Tumor protein p53 is one of the most critical determinants of the fate of cancer cells, as it can determine whether a cell lives or dies in response to stress. In a new study published today in the journal Nature Communications, ...

Researchers develop test that can diagnose two cancer types

December 12, 2017
A blood test using infrared spectroscopy can be used to diagnose two types of cancer, lymphoma and melanoma, according to a study led by Georgia State University.

Cancer-causing mutation suppresses immune system around tumours

December 12, 2017
Mutations in 'Ras' genes, which drive 25% of human cancers by causing tumour cells to grow, multiply and spread, can also protect cancer cells from the immune system, finds a new study from the Francis Crick Institute and ...

Atoh1, a potential Achilles' heel of Sonic Hedgehog medulloblastoma

December 12, 2017
Medulloblastoma is the most common type of solid brain tumor in children. Current treatments offer limited success and may leave patients with severe neurological side effects, including psychiatric disorders, growth retardation ...

MRI scans predict patients' ability to fight the spread of cancer

December 12, 2017
A simple, non-invasive procedure that can indicate how long patients with cancer that has spread to the brain might survive and whether they are likely to respond to immunotherapy has been developed by researchers in Liverpool.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.