Disrupting genes essential for the cellular recycling process known as autophagy increases the frequency of mutations during cell division and promotes the formation of ovarian cancer tumors, a study in mice has found. These findings support further investigation into the process of autophagy, which is often abnormal in ovarian cancer patients, as a potential target for future treatments. The study, “Autophagy genes act as tumor suppressors in ovarian cancer,” was published in PLOS Genetics. Autophagy is the tightly-regulated mechanism that removes unnecessary or abnormal components from the cell, allowing the degradation and recycling of cellular components. Autophagy genes have been found to play a role in cancer resistance to stresses such as chemotherapy while, paradoxically, they have also been implicated in the prevention of tumor formation.