Chemotherapy-associated oxidative stress: impact on chemotherapeutic effectiveness

Integr Cancer Ther. 2004 Dec;3(4):294-300. doi: 10.1177/1534735404270335.


Antineoplastic agents induce oxidative stress in biological systems. During cancer chemotherapy, oxidative stress-induced lipid peroxidation generates numerous electrophilic aldehydes that can attack many cellular targets. These products of oxidative stress can slow cell cycle progression of cancer cells and cause cell cycle checkpoint arrest, effects that may interfere with the ability of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. The aldehydes may also inhibit drug-induced apoptosis (programmed cell death) by inactivating death receptors and inhibiting caspase activity. These effects would also diminish the efficacy of the treatment. The use of anti-oxidants during chemotherapy may enhance therapy by reducing the generation of oxidative stress-induced aldehydes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cell Line, Tumor / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor / physiology
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Antineoplastic Agents