Possible interactions between dietary antioxidants and chemotherapy

Oncology (Williston Park). 1999 Jul;13(7):1003-8; discussion 1008, 1011-2.


Many patients treat themselves with oral antioxidants and other alternative therapies during chemotherapy, frequently without advising their conventional health care provider. No definitive studies have demonstrated the long-term effects of combining chemotherapeutic agents and oral antioxidants in humans. However, there is sufficient understanding of the mechanisms of action of both chemotherapeutic agents and antioxidants to predict the obvious interactions and to suggest where caution should be exercised with respect to both clinical decisions and study interpretation. This article will describe these potential interactions and areas of concern, based on the available data. It will also suggest several potential courses of action that clinicians may take when patients indicate that they are taking or plan to use alternative therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Reactive Oxygen Species