Regulated cell death pathways and their roles in homeostasis, infection, inflammation, and tumorigenesis

Exp Mol Med. 2023 Aug;55(8):1632-1643. doi: 10.1038/s12276-023-01069-y. Epub 2023 Aug 23.


Pyroptosis, apoptosis, necroptosis, and ferroptosis, which are the most well-studied regulated cell death (RCD) pathways, contribute to the clearance of infected or potentially neoplastic cells, highlighting their importance in homeostasis, host defense against pathogens, cancer, and a wide range of other pathologies. Although these four RCD pathways employ distinct molecular and cellular processes, emerging genetic and biochemical studies have suggested remarkable flexibility and crosstalk among them. The crosstalk among pyroptosis, apoptosis and necroptosis pathways is more evident in cellular responses to infection, which has led to the conceptualization of PANoptosis. In this review, we provide a brief overview of the molecular mechanisms of pyroptosis, apoptosis, necroptosis, and ferroptosis and their importance in maintaining homeostasis. We discuss the intricate crosstalk among these RCD pathways and the current evidence supporting PANoptosis, focusing on infectious diseases and cancer. Understanding the fundamental processes of various cell death pathways is crucial to inform the development of new therapeutics against many diseases, including infection, sterile inflammation, and cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogenesis*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Regulated Cell Death*