Modulation of reactive oxygen species in cancers: recent advances

Jeyasree M. Ganesh, Prerana P, Arun Dharmarajan, Sudha Warrier, Rajesh Kumar Gandhirajan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Oxidation-reduction reactions played a significant role in the chemical evolution of life forms on oxygenated earth. Cellular respiration is dependent on such redox reactions, and any imbalance leads to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in both chronic and acute illnesses. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), by 2040, the global burden of new cancer cases is expected to be around 27.5 million, with 16.3 million cancer deaths due to an increase in risk factors, such as unhealthy lifestyle, environmental factors, aberrant gene mutations, and resistance to therapies. ROS play an important role in cellular signaling, but they can cause severe damage to tissues when present at higher levels. Elevated and chronic levels of ROS are pertinent in carcinogenesis, while several therapeutic strategies rely on altering cellular ROS to eliminate tumor cells as they are more susceptible to ROS-induced damage than normal cells. Given this selective targeting potential, therapies that can effectively modulate ROS levels have been the focus of intense research in recent years. This review describes biologically relevant ROS, its origins in solid and hematological cancers, and the current status of evolving antioxidant and pro-oxidant therapies in cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-470
Number of pages24
JournalFree Radical Research
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry


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