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Advances in Medicine and Biology. Volume 129
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Breast Cancer and Autophagy, pp. 53-88 $0.00
Authors:  L.J. Armstrong, S.M. Gorski, The Genome Sciences Centre, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC, Canada and others
Abstract:
Stress on a cellular level can have detrimental effects on an organism
and has been implicated in many different diseases, including cancer.
Breast cancer, one of the most prevalent forms of the disease, is often
initiated by abnormal cellular mechanisms and damage to DNA brought
about by different types of cellular stress. One method of minimizing
damage caused by stress is a process that occurs within the cell known as
autophagy. Autophagy is a catabolic process in which old and damaged
components of the cell are degraded into their elemental forms and
recycled in order to synthesize additional proteins and energy. Recently a
gene involved in the regulation of autophagy was found to be altered in
breast cancer cells, leading researchers to hypothesize that autophagy
may play a pivotal role in the disease; however the definite role that
autophagy plays in breast cancer is still unclear. Some evidence suggests
that autophagy acts as a tumour suppressor and should be stimulated to
decrease the incidence of cancer in breast cells. Other evidence indicates
that autophagy’s survival effects may actually help breast cancer cells
persist and contribute to chemotherapy resistance in the body. With
increasing experimental evidence supporting each claim, it may be that
the role of autophagy varies depending on the particular type of tumour
and the stage of disease progression. Establishing an accurate link
between autophagy and breast cancer is therefore a very important
objective that could eventually lead to significant therapeutic
implications. 


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Breast Cancer and Autophagy, pp. 53-88