It has been known for many years that free radicals, such as reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS), promote diseases such as cancer. Peroxiredoxins (Prdxs) are small H(2)O(2) scavenging proteins that appear to have tumor preventive functions since loss of Prdx1 in mice leads to premature death from cancer. However, as Prdxs are antioxidants they also scavenge the H(2)O(2) in cancer cells that way supporting survival and tumor maintenance. This suggests that Prdxs function as tumor 'preventers' rather than as tumor suppressors since they do not induce cell death when re-expressed in cancer cells, as it occurs with the tumor suppressor p53. Therefore, the knowledge of Prdx function and regulation may help provide a fuller understanding of the role of ROS in tumorigenesis.