Pan-cancer analysis of iron metabolic landscape across the Cancer Genome Atlas

Su Zhang, Wei Chang, Hao Wu, Yu Han Wang, Yu Wen Gong, You Li Zhao, Shan Hui Liu, Han Zhang Wang, Robert S. Svatek, Ronald Rodriguez, Zhi Ping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Iron is an essential metal ion in the human body and usually dysregulated in cancers. However, a comprehensive overview of the iron-related genes and their clinical relevance in cancer is lacking. In this study, we utilized the expression profiling, proteomics, and epigenetics from the Cancer Genome Atlas database to systematically characterized the alterations of iron-related genes. There were multiple iron-related genes with dysregulation across 14 cancers and some of these ectopic changes may be associated with aberrant DNA methylation. Meanwhile, a variety of genes were significantly associated with patient survival, especially in kidney renal clear cell carcinoma. Then differentially expressed genes were validated in clinical samples. Finally, we found deferoxamine and erastin could inhibit proliferation in various tumor cells and influence the expression of several iron-related genes. Overall, our study provides a comprehensive analysis of iron metabolism across cancers and highlights the potential treatment of iron targeted therapies for cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1013-1024
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • DNA methylation
  • ferroptosis
  • iron metabolism
  • pan-cancer analysis
  • survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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