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EMT Regulation by Autophagy: A New Perspective in Glioblastoma Biology

Department of Biosciences and Territory, University of Molise, 86090 Pesche (IS), Italy
Department of Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, 00133 Rome, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cancers 2019, 11(3), 312;
Received: 30 January 2019 / Revised: 26 February 2019 / Accepted: 1 March 2019 / Published: 6 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glioblastoma: State of the Art and Future Perspectives)
Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and its reverse process MET naturally occur during development and in tissue repair in vertebrates. EMT is also recognized as the crucial event by which cancer cells acquire an invasive phenotype through the activation of specific transcription factors and signalling pathways. Even though glial cells have a mesenchymal phenotype, an EMT-like process tends to exacerbate it during gliomagenesis and progression to more aggressive stages of the disease. Autophagy is an evolutionary conserved degradative process that cells use in order to maintain a proper homeostasis, and defects in autophagy have been associated to several pathologies including cancer. Besides modulating cell resistance or sensitivity to therapy, autophagy also affects the migration and invasion capabilities of tumor cells. Despite this evidence, few papers are present in literature about the involvement of autophagy in EMT-like processes in glioblastoma (GBM) so far. This review summarizes the current understanding of the interplay between autophagy and EMT in cancer, with special regard to GBM model. As the invasive behaviour is a hallmark of GBM aggressiveness, defining a new link between autophagy and EMT can open a novel scenario for targeting these processes in future therapeutical approaches. View Full-Text
Keywords: autophagy; epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT); glioblastoma (GBM); cadherins; Wnt/β-catenin signalling autophagy; epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT); glioblastoma (GBM); cadherins; Wnt/β-catenin signalling
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Colella, B.; Faienza, F.; Di Bartolomeo, S. EMT Regulation by Autophagy: A New Perspective in Glioblastoma Biology. Cancers 2019, 11, 312.

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