Pyroptosis is an inflammatory cell death usually caused by microbial infection, accompanied by activation of inflammasomes and maturation of pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and interleukin-18 (IL-18). Gasdermin family proteins are the executors of pyroptosis. Cytotoxic N-terminal of gasdermins generated from caspases or granzymes proteases mediated cleavage of gasdermin proteins oligomerizes and forms pore across cell membrane, leading to release of IL-1β, IL-18. Pyroptosis exerts tumor suppression function and evokes anti-tumor immune responses. Therapeutic regimens, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy and immune therapy, induce pyroptosis in cancer, which potentiate local and systemic anti-tumor immunity. On the other hand, pyroptosis of normal cells attributes to side effects of anti-cancer therapies.
In this review, we focus on the regulatory mechanisms of pyroptosis and the tumor suppressive function of pyroptosis. We discuss the attribution of pyroptosis in reprogramming tumor microenvironments and restoration of anti-tumor immunity and its potential application in cancer immune therapy.