Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are induced through a variety of endogenous and exogenous sources. Overwhelming of antioxidant and DNA repair mechanisms in the cell by ROS may result in oxidative stress and oxidative damage to the cell. This resulting oxidative stress can damage critical cellular macromolecules and/or modulate gene expression pathways. Cancer induction by chemical and physical agents involves a multi-step process. This process includes multiple molecular and cellular events to transform a normal cell to a malignant neoplastic cell. Oxidative damage resulting from ROS generation can participate in all stages of the cancer process. An association of ROS generation and human cancer induction has been shown. It appears that oxidative stress may both cause as well as modify the cancer process. Recently association between polymorphisms in oxidative DNA repair genes and antioxidant genes (single nucleotide polymorphisms) and human cancer susceptibility has been shown.
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