Targeting Ferroptosis to Iron Out Cancer

Cancer Cell. 2019 Jun 10;35(6):830-849. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2019.04.002. Epub 2019 May 16.


One of the key challenges in cancer research is how to effectively kill cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells intact. Cancer cells often have defects in cell death executioner mechanisms, which is one of the main reasons for therapy resistance. To enable growth, cancer cells exhibit an increased iron demand compared with normal, non-cancer cells. This iron dependency can make cancer cells more vulnerable to iron-catalyzed necrosis, referred to as ferroptosis. The identification of FDA-approved drugs as ferroptosis inducers creates high expectations for the potential of ferroptosis to be a new promising way to kill therapy-resistant cancers.

Keywords: GPX4; HMOX1; Iron; anti-cancer therapy; ferroptosis; lipid peroxidation; nanomedicine; p53.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Ferroptosis / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Iron