Photo-Activated Ferroptosis for Cancer Therapy: Advances, Challenges, and Prospects

Le Yu, Yunjie Xu, Jong Seung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Ferroptosis, a recently identified form of nonapoptotic programmed cell death, has attracted significant attention in the field of cancer therapy due to its unique mechanism of cell death. To meet the demands of ferroptosis-mediated cancer treatment, several small molecule-based drugs have been reported for the implementation of ferroptosis. However, some cancer cells are inherently resistant to these drugs, and the lack of selectivity of these drugs against cancer cells can limit their clinical application. Recent advancements in light-mediated biomedical techniques offer a promising alternative for the development of ferroptotic therapy, that is photo-controlled activation of ferroptosis. In this review, we systematically summarize the current strategies for photo-controlled ferroptosis activation and detail analysis of the underlying mechanisms of those photo-controlled ferroptotic therapies. Finally, we discuss the challenges associated with photo-activated ferroptosis and provide an outlook on the future developments in ferroptotic cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1718-1736
Number of pages19
JournalCCS Chemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Aug

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the financial support received from the National Research Foundation of Korea (CRI project no. 2018R1A3B1052702, J.S.K). L.Y. thanks the China Scholarship Fund (CSC number 201907030009).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Chinese Chemical Society. All Rights Reserved.


  • ferroptotic cancer therapy
  • photo-activated ferroptosis
  • photocatalyst
  • photosensitizer
  • photothermal agent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry


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