Antioxidant depletion and increased free radical production by inflammatory cells have been described in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. To evaluate oxidative damage intensity, we measured plasma concentrations of malondialdehyde, hydroperoxides and protein carbon groups as markers of oxidative injury to lipids and proteins in a group of 101 CF patients free of acute exacerbation, and in 43-112 controls. Moreover, we estimated antioxidant function by measuring activities of erythrocyte superoxide dismutase, glutathione reductase and vitamin E concentrations. In CF patients, malondialdehyde and hydroperoxide plasma levels were significantly higher than in controls (p < 0.001). Increased lipid peroxidation was documented by these two markers. Parallel rises in protein carbonyls in plasma of CF patients were observed (p < 0.0001). These patients presented biochemical but not clinical vitamin E deficiency. Glutathione reductase and superoxide dismutase activities were significantly higher than in controls. These results show a serious imbalance of CF patients between oxidant-antioxidant status leading to oxidative stress.