Triggering ferroptosis in cancer cells

A new study from the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, US has revealed that a cytokine and a fatty acid can work together to trigger ferroptosis. Here, Dr Weiping Zou, the lead researcher from the study, outlines how this process could be used to target cancer cells and enhance immunotherapies.

While it is well known that interferon gamma is involved in anti-tumour responses, the new study, published in Cancer Cell,1 defines a novel way that this cytokine works. The researchers found that the combination of interferon gamma with arachidonic acid, a fatty acid found in the tumour microenvironment, activates the ACSL4 enzyme. This, in turn, alters tumour cell lipid patterns and naturally induces tumour cell ferroptosis via T cells.