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Cells 2012, 1(3), 535-557;

Updates from the Intestinal Front Line: Autophagic Weapons against Inflammation and Cancer

Laboratory of Signal-dependent Transcription, Department of Translational Pharmacology, Consorzio Mario Negri Sud, Santa Maria Imbaro (CH) 66030, Italy
Division of Medical Genetics, DIM, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bari, Policlinico, Piazza Giulio Cesare 11, Bari 70124, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 May 2012 / Revised: 4 July 2012 / Accepted: 1 August 2012 / Published: 21 August 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autophagy)
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The intestine lies at the interface between the organism and its environment and responds to infection/inflammation in a multi-leveled manner, potentially leading to chronic inflammatory pathologies and cancer formation. Indeed, the immune response at the intestinal epithelium has been found to be involved in the origin and development of colorectal cancer, which is the third most commonly diagnosed neoplastic disease. Among the mechanisms induced upon inflammation, autophagy appears as a defensive strategy for the clearance of invading microbes and intracellular waste components. Autophagy has also been found to play an important role in colorectal cancer, where it seems to have a pro-survival or pro-death function depending on the stage of the neoplastic process. In this paper we discuss the dual role of autophagy in colorectal cancer and review evidence showing that modulation of autophagy affects the immune response and cancer biology. The study of key players involved in autophagy might contribute to the design of new approaches for colorectal cancer, consisting in combined therapies capable of modifying cancer-specific metabolism rather than simply evoking a generic apoptotic and/or autophagic response, thus enhancing the efficacy of currently used drugs and treatments. View Full-Text
Keywords: autophagy; colorectal cancer; inflammation; chemotherapy; p38a autophagy; colorectal cancer; inflammation; chemotherapy; p38a

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Madia, F.; Grossi, V.; Peserico, A.; Simone, C. Updates from the Intestinal Front Line: Autophagic Weapons against Inflammation and Cancer. Cells 2012, 1, 535-557.

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