Autophagy is a vital basic phenomenon that widely exists in eukaryotic cells. As one type of programmed cell death, autophagy has gained much more attention in the past few years. Recent studies suggest that the alterations in autophagy are associated with the genesis and development of cancers. It can affect cell apoptosis, angiogenesis, and treatment of tumor. Others’ and our studies have found that some herbal medicines can induce autophagic cell death in cancer cell models. As herbal medicines are very important recourses for drug discovery and lead compounds of anticancer drugs, we have summarized the role of autophagy in inhibitive effect of natural products in cancer cell growth and metastasis. Finally, we present summary and critical comments on problems in current autophagy study and its future prospect.
Part of the book: Cell Death