Renal cell carcinoma is particularly sensitive to ferroptosis, an iron-dependent non-apoptotic form of cell death. This mechanism does not require activation of caspase or the participation of other apoptotic effector molecules (such as BAX or BAK), nor is it accompanied by the morphological characteristics or biochemical processes of apoptosis. The STEAP3 gene was found because it promotes tumor apoptosis in prostate cancer, but its role in renal cell carcinoma has not been studied in depth. Through real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, we found that the expression of the STEAP3 gene was upregulated in renal cell carcinoma tissue samples and cell lines, and it was found to be highly expressed in renal cell carcinoma tissue through immunohistochemistry. This upregulation is related to poor survival and prognosis of patients. We used erastin, a ferroptosis inducer, found that renal cell carcinoma became more susceptible to ferroptosis after knocking down STEAP3. The results indicate that renal cell carcinoma cell lines with knocked down STEAP3 expression are more sensitive to ferroptosis, and this effect occurs through the p53/xCT pathway. In summary, our research helps to identify new biomarkers and provides new targets for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma.
Keywords: STEAP3; ferroptosis; p53; renal cell carcinoma; xCT.