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J Cell Mol Med. 2017 Apr;21(4):648-657. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.13008. Epub 2016 Nov 10.

Ferroptosis, a new form of cell death, and its relationships with tumourous diseases.

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Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China.
Environmental and Public Health School of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China.


Ferroptosis is a newly discovered type of cell death that differs from traditional apoptosis and necrosis and results from iron-dependent lipid peroxide accumulation. Ferroptotic cell death is characterized by cytological changes, including cell volume shrinkage and increased mitochondrial membrane density. Ferroptosis can be induced by two classes of small-molecule substances known as class 1 (system Xc- inhibitors) and class 2 ferroptosis inducers [glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPx4) inhibitors]. In addition to these small-molecule substances, a number of drugs (e.g. sorafenib, artemisinin and its derivatives) can induce ferroptosis. Various factors, such as the mevalonate (MVA) and sulphur-transfer pathways, play pivotal roles in the regulation of ferroptosis. Ferroptosis plays an unneglectable role in regulating the growth and proliferation of some types of tumour cells, such as lymphocytoma, ductal cell cancer of the pancreas, renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Here, we will first introduce the discovery of and research pertaining to ferroptosis; then summarize the induction mechanisms and regulatory pathways of ferroptosis; and finally, further elucidate the roles of ferroptosis in human tumourous diseases.


erastin; ferroptosis; iron-dependent cell death; tumourous diseases

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