Cysteine Regulates Oxidative Stress and Glutathione-Related Antioxidative Capacity before and after Colorectal Tumor Resection

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Aug 24;23(17):9581. doi: 10.3390/ijms23179581.


Cysteine might scavenge free radicals and is a limiting substrate for the cellular synthesis of glutathione (GSH). We investigated the association of cysteine with oxidative stress and GSH-related antioxidant capacity in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. Plasma samples were drawn from 66 patients 1 day before (pre-resection) and 4 weeks after resection (post-resection). Tumor and adjacent normal tissues were collected. We measured levels of plasma and tissue cysteine, homocysteine, oxidative stress indicators (malondialdehyde, MDA; advanced oxidation protein products, AOPP), GSH, and antioxidant enzyme activities. After tumor resection, patients had significantly higher levels of plasma cysteine, homocysteine, MDA, AOPP, and GSH-related antioxidant enzyme activities when compared with pre-resection. Levels of cysteine, homocysteine, AOPP and all antioxidant capacity indicators in tumor tissue were significantly higher than those levels in the adjacent normal tissue. Plasma cysteine levels measured at pre-resection were positively associated with MDA levels in the tumor and in the adjacent normal tissues. Cysteine levels in tumor and adjacent normal tissues were significantly associated with tissue levels of homocysteine, almost as indicators of oxidative stress and antioxidant capacities. Cysteine in the circulation was likely utilized to mediate GSH-related antioxidant capacity and further cope with increased oxidative stress in tumor and adjacent normal tissues.

Keywords: antioxidant capacities; colorectal cancer; cysteine; oxidative stress; tumor resection.

MeSH terms

  • Advanced Oxidation Protein Products / metabolism
  • Antioxidants* / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Cysteine / metabolism
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Homocysteine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress


  • Advanced Oxidation Protein Products
  • Antioxidants
  • Homocysteine
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Glutathione
  • Cysteine