, Volume 47, Issue 2 Supplement, pp 19-28
Date: 07 May 2008

Antioxidant vitamins and cancer risk: is oxidative damage to DNA a relevant biomarker?

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Abstract

Oxidative damage to DNA is regarded as an important step in carcinogenesis. These lesions may arise as a consequence of exposure to xenobiotics, but are also generated as a consequence of endogenous generation of oxidizing compounds. Measurements of oxidative damage to guanines, such as 8-oxo-7, 8-dihydroguanine (8-oxodG) are increasingly being regarded as reliable biomarkers of oxidative stress and they may have a predictive value of cancer risk, although this needs to be established independently in several cohort studies. A survey of intervention studies of the ingestion of antioxidant-containing foods or tablets of antioxidants indicate that about one-third of the studies reported a protective effect in terms of lower levels of oxidative damage to DNA in white blood cells or decreased urinary excretion of 8-oxodG. Although firm conclusions cannot be reached, there appears to be links between ingestion of antioxidants, oxidative damage to DNA, and risk of cancer.