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Invited Review

Role of free radicals and antioxidants in gynecological cancers: current status and future prospects

Lokanatha Valluru, Subramanyam Dasari, Rajendra Wudayagiri.


The potential role of free radicals and associated oxidative stress has been well documented in the development of many diseases. Free radicals are mainly derived from oxygen (reactive oxygen species, ROS) and nitrogen (reactive nitrogen species, RNS), under various physicochemical or pathological conditions. Excessive amount of free radicals eventually attack biomolecules including proteins, lipids and DNA, thus results in increased oxidative damage leads to alter the physiological functions of the cell and implicated in the activation of transcription factors and triggers a number of human diseases including carcinogenesis. Apart from many dietary components, mammalian cells have endowed with protective antioxidant defence system, which includes enzymatic (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase) and non-enzymatic (glutathione, vitamin E (tocotrienols and tocopherols), vitamin C) antioxidants. The present review describes the role of the free radicals in the development of gynecological cancers and their key factors of the non-specific immune defence mechanism (antioxidants). The review also emphasizes the different potential applications of antioxidant/free radical manipulations in prevention and/or control of cancer. The novel and future approaches for better control of diseases are include gene therapy to produce more antioxidants, genetically engineered plant products with higher level of antioxidants, artificial antioxidant enzymes, novel biomolecules and the use of foods enriched with antioxidants.

Key words: Cervical cancer; Endometrial cancer; Free radicals; Reactive species

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