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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 46  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 146-150

Implications of free radicals and antioxidant levels in carcinoma of the breast: A never-ending battle for survival

1 Department of Urology, CSMMU (formerly KGMU), Lucknow, (U. P.), India
2 Department of Biochemistry, CSMMU (formerly KGMU), Lucknow, (U. P.), India
3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, CSMMU (formerly KGMU), Lucknow, (U. P.), India

Correspondence Address:
R J Sinha
Department of Urology, CSMMU (formerly KGMU), Lucknow, (U. P.)
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.49153

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Background: Under normal circumstances, there is a steady balance between the production of oxygen derived free radicals and their destruction by the cellular antioxidant system inside the human body. However, any imbalance between the levels of these oxidants and antioxidants might cause DNA damage and may lead to cancer development. The aim of this study was to evaluate the level of antioxidants and free radicals in blood and tissue of cancer patients and compare these levels at different TNM stages to derive the possible role of free radicals and antioxidant enzymes in the etiology of breast cancer. Materials and Methods: This study includes 30 patients suffering from cancer breast and 20 patients as controls who had benign breast diseases. Circulating lipid peroxide (Malonyldialdehyde [MDA]) levels and activities of the defensive enzymes (Superoxide Dismutase [SOD] and Catalase [CAT]) were estimated in the blood and breast tissue of these patients. Results: Increased levels of free radicals and low levels of antioxidants were observed in malignant tissue. An elevated lipid peroxide concentration was found in the tissue of all the cancer breast patients as evidenced by an increase in the mean MDA level seen with increasing TNM stage of carcinoma breast. Levels of antioxidants SOD and CAT were decreased in cancer patients. Conclusion: The results of our study suggest that free radical activity is enhanced in cancer breast patients while the antioxidant defense mechanism is weakened. This activity is enhanced with the increasing severity of cancer as depicted in different TNM stages of breast cancer.


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