Background: Autophagy is a mechanism which relies on lysosomes for clearance and recycling of abnormal proteins or organelles. Many studies have demonstrated that the deregulation of autophagy is associated with the development of various diseases including cancer. The use of autophagy inhibitors is an emerging trend in cancer treatment. However, the value of autophagy inhibitors remains under debate. Thus, a meta-analysis was performed, aiming to evaluate the clinical value of autophagy-inhibitor-based therapy.
Methods: We searched for clinical studies that evaluated autophagy-inhibitor-based therapy in cancer. We extracted data from these studies to evaluate the relative risk (RR) of overall response rate (ORR), 6-month progression-free survival (PFS) rate, and 1-year overall survival (OS) rate.
Results: Seven clinical trials were identified (n = 293). Treatments included 2 combinations of hydroxychloroquine and gemcitabine, 1 combination of hydroxychloroquine and doxorubicin, 1 combination of chloroquine and radiation, 2 combinations of chloroquine, temozolomide, and radiation, and 1 hydroxychloroquine monotherapy. Autophagy-inhibitor-based therapy showed higher ORR (RR: 1.33, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.95-1.86, P = .009), PFS (RR: 1.72, 95% CI: 1.05-2.82, P = .000), OS (RR: 1.39, 95% CI: 1.11-1.75, P = .000) values than the therapy without inhibiting autophagy.
Conclusion: This meta-analysis showed that autophagy-inhibitor-based therapy has better treatment response compared to chemotherapy or radiation therapy without inhibiting autophagy, which may provide a new strategy for the treatment of cancers.