Life or death? Autophagy in anticancer therapies with statins and histone deacetylase inhibitors

Pei Ming Yang, Ching Chow Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Citations (Scopus)


Autophagy, which could be either cytoprotective or cytotoxic, is often observed in tumor cells in response to chemotherapy. Understanding the signaling pathways involved in the regulation of autophagy represents a new direction in the development of anticancer therapies. Our recent studies investigate the role of autophagy in the anticancer effects of statins and histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi). Inhibition of autophagy enhances the efficacy of statins, whereas autophagic cell death in cancer cells is induced by HDACi. Here, we will discuss the differential signaling pathways elicited by statins and HDACi. We find that AMPK, cytoplasmic p21 and Akt signaling are crucial determinants of cell fates (i.e., life or death) while autophagy is induced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-108
Number of pages2
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes



  • Akt
  • AMPK
  • Apoptosis
  • Autophagy
  • Cytoplasmic p21
  • ER stress
  • Histone deacetylase
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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