Autophagy in hypoxia and radioresistance: regulation and functional implications

M.B.E. Schaaf

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal


As a result of an abnormal architecture of blood vessels in a tumour, some tumour cells are insufficiently supplied with oxygen and are surrounded by a hostile tumour environment hindering the effectiveness of treatments. These cells depend on a process called autophagy, in which they break their own cell components into elements reusable for the production of energy, for instance. This doctoral study shows that the ULK1 protein plays an important role in the autophagy process and the survival of tumour cells in an oxygen-poor tumour environment. This insight into the role of ULK1 protein could lead to new therapeutic strategies to make these cells more sensitive to a lack of oxygen and to improve treatment results, if radiation therapy is part of the treatment given to the patient. Furthermore, it was shown that the recycling effect of autophagy in irradiated tumour cells did not influence the levels of resistance to radiation therapy.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Vooijs, Marc, Supervisor
  • Lambin, Philippe, Supervisor
  • Rouschop, Kasper, Co-Supervisor
Award date25 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • cancer
  • autophagy
  • radiation therapy

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