The role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cancer cells has been intensively studied for the past two decades. Cancer cells mostly have higher basal ROS levels than their normal counterparts. The induction of ROS has been shown to be associated with cancer development, metastasis, progression, and survival. Various therapeutic approaches targeting intracellular ROS levels have yielded mixed results. As widely accepted dietary supplements, antioxidants demonstrate both ROS scavenging ability and anti-cancer characteristics. However, antioxidants may not always be safe to use since excessive intake of antioxidants could lead to serious health concerns. In this review, we have evaluated the production and scavenging systems of ROS in cells, as well as the beneficial and harmful roles of ROS in cancer cells. We also examine the effect of antioxidants in cancer treatment, the effect of combined treatment of antioxidants with traditional cancer therapies, and the side effects of excessive antioxidant intake.
Keywords: Antioxidant; Cancer therapy; Oxidative stress; Redox; Tumor.
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