Role of oxygen radicals in tumor promotion

Thomas W. Kensler, Michael A. Trush

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


Tumor promoters provoke the elaboration of oxygen radicals by direct chemical generation and through the indirect activation or alteration of cellular sources including membrane oxidases, peroxisomes, and electron transport chains in mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum. Although direct measurement of amplified oxygen radical production in response to tumor promoters in target tissues remains problematic, studies with scavengers of reactive oxygen species demonstrate inhibition of biochemical and biological sequelae of tumor promoter exposure and provide strong presumptive evidence for oxygen radical involvement in this late stage of carcinogenesis. The critical macromolecular targets for these oxygen radicals remain undefined; however, they may include lipids, DNA, DNA repair systems, and other enzymes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-616
Number of pages24
JournalEnvironmental Mutagenesis
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1984


  • DNA damage
  • antioxidants
  • free radicals
  • lipid peroxidation
  • multistage carcinogenesis
  • phorbol esters
  • reactive oxygen
  • superoxide dismutase
  • tumor promotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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