Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS and RNS) are known to contribute as pathogenic factors to the development of chronic progressive diseases at various stages. The present review discusses the role of oxidative stress in chemically induced cancer development and progression. Reactive species are capable of inducing DNA damage that eventually may contribute to cell transformation and tumor initiation. ROS and RNS are also associated with tumor promotion and progression. Both endogenous processes and redox-cycling of xenobiotic compounds have been shown to result in oxidative DNA damage. In addition, several exocyclic DNA adducts represent secondary DNA damage caused by products of lipid peroxidation in the course of oxidative cellular stress. Due to their intrinsic ability to catalyze redox reactions, transition metals, and quinones from various classes of xenobiotics or endogenous compounds are important mediators of oxidative stress and thus likely of being involved in DNA damage, lipid peroxidation, cell transformation, and tumor development.