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Free Radic Biol Med. 1990;8(6):567-81.

Free radicals and anticancer drug resistance: oxygen free radicals in the mechanisms of drug cytotoxicity and resistance by certain tumors.

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Medicine Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Certain anticancer agents form free radical intermediates during enzymatic activation. Recent studies have indicated that free radicals generated from adriamycin and mitomycin C may play a critical role in their toxicity to human tumor cells. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly apparent that reduced drug activation and or enhanced detoxification of reactive oxygen species may be related to the resistance to these anticancer agents by certain tumor cell lines. The purposes of this review are to summarize the evidence pointing toward the significance of free radicals formation in drug toxicity and to evaluate the role of decreased free radical formation and enhanced free radical scavenging and detoxification in the development of anticancer drug resistance by a spectrum of tumor cell types. Studies failing to support the participation of oxyradicals in the cytotoxicity and resistance of adriamycin are also discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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