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Oxidative damage and antioxidants in cervical cancer
  1. Daciele Paola Preci,
  2. Angélica Almeida,
  3. Anne Liss Weiler,
  4. Maria Luiza Mukai Franciosi and
  5. Andréia Machado Cardoso
  1. Medicine Course, Universidade Federal da Fronteira Sul, Chapecó, Santa Catarina, Brazil
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andréia Machado Cardoso, Medicine Course, Universidade Federal da Fronteira Sul, Chapecó, Santa Catarina 89815-899, Brazil; andreia.cardoso{at}


The pathogenesis of cervical cancer is related to oxidative damage caused by persistent infection by one of the oncogenic types of human papillomavirus (HPV). This damage comes from oxidative stress, which is the imbalance caused by the increase in reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and impaired antioxidant mechanisms, promoting tumor progression through metabolic processes. The incorporation of HPV into the cellular genome leads to the expression of oncoproteins, which are associated with chronic inflammation and increased production of reactive oxygen species, oxidizing proteins, lipids and DNA. The increase in these parameters is related, in general, to the reduction of circulating levels of enzymatic antioxidants—superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase; and non-enzymatic antioxidants—reduced glutathione, coenzyme Q10 and vitamins A, C and E, according to tumor staging. In contrast, some enzymatic antioxidants suffer upregulation in the tumor tissue as a way of adapting to the oxidative environment generated by themselves, such as glutathione-S-transferase, reduced glutathione, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase 2, induced nitric oxide synthase, peroxiredoxins 1, 3 and 6, and thioredoxin reductase 2. The decrease in the expression and activity of certain circulatory antioxidants and increasing the redox status of the tumor cells are thus key to cervical carcinoma prognosis. In addition, vitamin deficit is considered a possible modifiable risk factor by supplementation, since the cellular functions can have a protective effect on the development of cervical cancer. In this review, we will discuss the impact of oxidative damage on cervical cancer progression, as well as the main oxidative markers and therapeutic potentialities of antioxidants.

  • cervical cancer
  • pathology

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  • Contributors All authors have contributed to the construction of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.