Induction of autophagy-dependent ferroptosis to eliminate drug-tolerant human retinoblastoma cells

Ke Liu, Jun Huang, Jiao Liu, Daniel J. Klionsky, Rui Kang, Daolin Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Carboplatin is the most used first-line drug for the treatment of human retinoblastoma (RB), a rare form of cancer in infancy and childhood. However, the clinical application of carboplatin is restricted due to the emergence of acquired multi-drug resistance (MDR) after long-term treatment. Here, we report a new strategy to eliminate MDR RB cells by inducing autophagy-dependent ferroptosis. Compared with parent cells, carboplatin-resistant human RB cells have higher autophagy activity, which drives the formation of MDR to other chemotherapeutic drugs (e.g., etoposide and vincristine). In addition to confirming the traditional strategy of inhibiting autophagy to overcome MDR, we also establish an approach of inducing selective ferritinophagy to eliminate drug-resistant cells. We evaluate the effectiveness and safety of 4-octyl itaconate, a cell-permeable derivative of the metabolite itaconate, in inducing ferritinophagy-dependent ferroptosis in the treatment of MDR RB cells in vitro and in xenograft mouse models. These findings may provide essential clues for initiating clinical trials that target autophagy-dependent ferroptosis to kill drug-tolerant persistent cells during RB therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number521
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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