Ferroptosis is a recently recognized cell death modality that is morphologically, biochemically and genetically distinct from other forms of cell death and that has emerged to play an important role in cancer biology. Recent discoveries have highlighted the metabolic plasticity of cancer cells and have provided intriguing insights into how metabolic rewiring is a critical event for the persistence, dedifferentiation and expansion of cancer cells. In some cases, this metabolic reprogramming has been linked to an acquired sensitivity to ferroptosis, thus opening up new opportunities to treat therapy-insensitive tumours. However, it is not yet clear what metabolic determinants are critical for therapeutic resistance and evasion of immune surveillance. Therefore, a better understanding of the processes that regulate ferroptosis sensitivity should ultimately aid in the discovery of novel therapeutic strategies to improve cancer treatment. In this Perspectives article, we provide an overview of the known mechanisms that regulate sensitivity to ferroptosis in cancer cells and how the modulation of metabolic pathways controlling ferroptosis might reshape the tumour niche, leading to an immunosuppressive microenvironment that promotes tumour growth and progression.