In English | En español
Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

Page Options

  • Print This Page

Widget

NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms



autophagy  listen  (aw-TAH-fuh-jee)

  A normal process in which a cell destroys proteins and other substances in its cytoplasm (the fluid inside the cell membrane but outside the nucleus), which may lead to cell death. Autophagy may prevent normal cells from developing into cancer cells, but it may also protect cancer cells by destroying anticancer drugs or substances taken up by them.