System x c - was recently described as the most upstream node in a novel form of regulated necrotic cell death, called ferroptosis. In this context, the small molecule erastin was reported to target and inhibit system x c - , leading to cysteine starvation, glutathione depletion and consequently ferroptotic cell death. Although the inhibitory effect of erastin towards system x c - is well-documented, nothing is known about its mechanism of action. Therefore, we sought to interrogate in more detail the underlying mechanism of erastin's pro-ferroptotic effects. When comparing with some well-known inhibitors of system x c - , erastin was the most efficient inhibitor acting at low micromolar concentrations. Notably, only a very short exposure of cells with low erastin concentrations was sufficient to cause a strong and persistent inhibition of system x c - , causing glutathione depletion. These inhibitory effects towards system x c - did not involve cysteine modifications of the transporter. More importantly, short exposure of tumor cells with erastin strongly potentiated the cytotoxic effects of cisplatin to efficiently eradicate tumor cells. Hence, our data suggests that only a very short pre-treatment of erastin suffices to synergize with cisplatin to efficiently induce cancer cell death, findings that might guide us in the design of novel cancer treatment paradigms.