Ascorbic acid is an essential nutrient commonly regarded as an antioxidant. In this study, we showed that ascorbate at pharmacologic concentrations was a prooxidant, generating hydrogen-peroxide-dependent cytotoxicity toward a variety of cancer cells in vitro without adversely affecting normal cells. To test this action in vivo, normal oral tight control was bypassed by parenteral ascorbate administration. Real-time microdialysis sampling in mice bearing glioblastoma xenografts showed that a single pharmacologic dose of ascorbate produced sustained ascorbate radical and hydrogen peroxide formation selectively within interstitial fluids of tumors but not in blood. Moreover, a regimen of daily pharmacologic ascorbate treatment significantly decreased growth rates of ovarian (P < 0.005), pancreatic (P < 0.05), and glioblastoma (P < 0.001) tumors established in mice. Similar pharmacologic concentrations were readily achieved in humans given ascorbate intravenously. These data suggest that ascorbate as a prodrug may have benefits in cancers with poor prognosis and limited therapeutic options.