Ferroptosis inducers: A new frontier in cancer therapy

Wenjing Ma, Naiyuan Hu, Wenqian Xu, Linxi Zhao, Chutong Tian, Ken ichiro Kamei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Ferroptosis represents a non-apoptotic form of programmed cell death characterized by iron-dependent lipid peroxidation. This cell death modality not only facilitates the direct elimination of cancer cells, but also enhances their susceptibility to other pharmacological anti-cancer agents. The burgeoning interest in ferroptosis has been driven by a growing body of evidence that underscores the efficiency and minimal toxicity of ferroptosis inducers. Traditional inducers, such as erastin and RSL3 have shown substantial promise in clinical applications due to their potent therapeutic effects. Their significant potential of these inducers has spurred the development of a variety of small molecule ferroptosis inducers. These novel inducers boast an enhanced structural variety, improved metabolic stability, the capability to initiate ferroptosis without triggering apoptosis, making them well-suited for in vivo use. Despite these advancements, challenges still remain, particularly concerning the drug delivery, tumor specificity, and circulation duration of these small molecules in vivo. Addressing these challenges, contemporary research has pivoted towards innovative delivery systems tailored for ferroptosis inducers to facilitate precise, targeted, and synegestic therapeutic delivery. This review scrutinizes the latest progress in small molecule ferroptosis inducers and nano drug delivery systems geared towards ferroptosis sensitization. Furthermore, it delineated the prospective therapeutic advantages and the existing hurdles in the development of ferroptosis inducers for malignant tumor treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107331
JournalBioorganic Chemistry
StatePublished - May 2024


  • Cancer therapy
  • Drug resistance
  • Ferroptosis
  • Nanotherapeutics
  • Small molecule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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