An overview of the relationship between oxidative stress and chemical carcinogenesis

Free Radic Biol Med. 1991;10(3-4):201-9. doi: 10.1016/0891-5849(91)90077-g.


Substantial experimental evidence exists which implicates both oxygen- and organic-free radical intermediates in the multiple stages of chemical carcinogenesis. This overview summarizes some of the biochemical and molecular interactions which could result from a state of oxidative stress following the generation of free radical intermediates from chemical carcinogens in target cells. Evidence for a relationship between carcinogenesis and inflammation as a mediator of oxidative stress is also discussed. Understanding the interactions of radical intermediates with target biomolecules should lead to the development of relevant biomarkers of these interactions as well as rational chemoprotective strategies with antioxidants or other radical detoxifiers for the prevention of neoplasia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Free Radicals
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Oxygen / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Free Radicals
  • Oxygen