Current Pharmacology Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 35–42 | Cite as

The Link of Marine Products with Autophagy-Associated Cell Death in Cancer Cell

  • Teresa Liliana WargasetiaEmail author
  • Nashi WidodoEmail author
Cancer Chemoprevention (R Agarwal and S Yu, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Cancer Chemoprevention


Purpose of Review

In this review, we describe a role of marine natural products in induction and inhibition of autophagy linked to cancers.

Recent Findings

Some of the compounds from marine organism showed ability to induce autophagy that directs death in cancer cells, as well as some of the others might prevent pro-survival autophagy process. The marine products could regulate various autophagy genes, ranging from upstream such as SIRT1 until to the downstream gene in the pathway. In general, marine natural products induce autophagy through the endoplasmic reticulum stress, PI3K /Akt/ mTOR, and p53 signaling. It is even more interesting that the marine compounds are also able to inhibit pro-survival autophagy, for example, polyphenol from Spatoglossum asperum. However, the antilogy should be kept in mind that a small number of marine compounds are known to induce pro-survival autophagy in cancer cells.


Marine life represents more than a half of the world biodiversity and offers a great source of bioactive compounds as drug candidates, including anti-cancer. Nowadays, autophagy has become one of primarily interesting topics in cancer research. Dysregulation of autophagy has been linked to several diseases, predominantly in cancer. There is paradox regarding the role of autophagy in cancer where autophagy can either lead to tumor promotion or suppression. This review showed that some of the marine natural product have activity to induce autophagy that may link to cell death or survival process. Thereof, better understanding on autophagic signaling in tumor cells upon various bioactive compounds from marine organisms is needed to ensure their potential chemotherapeutic tools against human cancers.


Autophagy Cancer Cell death Marine products 



This work supported by Postdoctoral Research Scheme 2018 through the Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education of Republic of Indonesia’s research fund.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineUniversitas Kristen Maranatha (Maranatha Christian University)BandungIndonesia
  2. 2.Biology Department, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural SciencesThe University of BrawijayaMalangIndonesia

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