ISSN   0974-3618  (Print)          

            0974-360X (Online)





Antioxidant level in Oral Malignancy


Mohammed Ahad

B.D.S 1st Year, Saveetha Dental College and Hospital

*Corresponding Author E-mail:




To make a review on Antioxidant level in oral malignant condition.


Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. Tobacco is the major cause of oral cancer. In many studies shows, reactive oxygen species (ROS) like super oxide radicals, hydroxyl radicals and hydrogen peroxide play a key role in human cancer development. As a consequence of normal metabolic process ROS recontinuously produced in the human body. Normally our body has several defence system to scavenge the ROS and protect our body from damage. The defence system contain Antioxidants, which is defined as any substance that when present in low concentration compared to that of an oxidizible substrate, significantly delays or inhibits the oxidation of that substrate. In normal cells there is an appropriate prooxidant:oxidant balance. When ROS level is increased, pro-oxidant level will increased and antioxidant level will decreased. This state is called oxidative stress which causes severe cell damage. Oxidative stress is the major  cause of progression of many chronic Inflammatory diseases like atherosclerosis, Neuro degenerative diseases and carcinogenesis.


So oxidants and Antioxidants play an importance role in the development and progression of cancer. So in this study, I will review the level of antioxidants in oral cancer.






Oral cancer is a major form of cancer worldwide and is one of the most common malignancy in India accounting for 30-40 per cent of all cancers[1, 2]. Tobacco chewing with betel quid, tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption are the most important aetiological factors associated with the incidence of oral cancer in India [3]. An antioxidant is a molecule which inhibits oxidation reaction. Antioxidants terminate the chain reaction caused by free radicals of oxidation reaction , preventing cell damage or death of the cells. Insufficient levels of antioxidants or inhibition of antioxidant enzymes causes oxidative stress and damage or kill the cells. It has been suggested that negative effects of nicotine are reversed by antioxidants [4].




Received on 12.05.2015          Modified on 18.06.2015

Accepted on 02.07.2015        © RJPT All right reserved

Research J. Pharm. and Tech. 8(8): August, 2015; Page 1011-1013

DOI: 10.5958/0974-360X.2015.00171.7

oxygen species plays an effective role in the pathogenesis of different pathological diseases including cancer[5,6]. Harmful effects of ROS are balanced by enzymatic and non enzymatic antioxidants [7]. The successful control of oral cavity cancer will depend on its prevention. Cessation of tobacco use is a primary objective in this. endeavor. Additionally, considerable evidence exists suggesting a role for nutrients, particularly the so-called anti-oxidants, beta-carotene and vitamin E, in the prevention of this disease [8].


Free radicals and their role in oral cavity cancer:

Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that have the potential to harm cells. They are created when an atom or a molecule either gains or loses an electron. Free radicals are formed naturally in the body and play an important role in many normal cellular processes [9,10]. At high concentrations, however, free radicals can be hazardous to the body and damage all major components of cells, including DNA, proteins, and cell membranes. The damage to cells caused by free radicals, especially the damage to DNA, may play a role in the development of cancer.


ROS include both free radicals as well as non-radical derivative sofoxygen [11]. Therelation between free radicals and disease can be explained by the concept of ‘oxidative stress’ elaborated by Sies [12]. He defined oxidative stress as an imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants in favour of oxidants, potentially leading to damage [13]. Initiation of cancer by ROS is supported by presence of oxidative DNA modifications in cancer tissues [14]. The promotion stage is characterized by clonal expansion of initiated cells, by induction of cell proliferation and/or inhibition of apoptosis [15]. Oxidative stress is strongly involved in this stage.


Chemically, oxidative stress is associated with increased production of oxidizing species or a significant decrease in the effectiveness of antioxidant defenses, such as glutathione [16]. The effects of oxidative stress depend upon the size of these changes, with a cell being able to overcome small perturbations and regain its original state. However, more severe oxidative stress can cause cell death and even moderate oxidation can trigger apoptosis, while more intense stresses may causes necrosis [17].

Free radicals are highly reactive and are capable of damaging almost all types of biomolecules [18,19].


Tobacco chewing

 and smoking causes imbalance level of oxidant-antioxidant which increases oxidative stress. It disturbs the antioxidant defence which can induce the malignant process hence leading to oxidative DNA damage, damage to macro and micro-molecules of cells and increase in lipid peroxidation. Does intake of tobacco affects the formation and stabilisation of free radicals [20]. The fact is that free radicals be get free radicals, i.e., generate free radicals from normal compounds which continue as a chain reaction.


Antioxidant and their role in prevention of cancer:

Antioxidants are chemicals that interact with and neutralize free radicals, thus preventing them from causing damage. Antioxidants are also known as “free radical scavengers”.The body makes some of the antioxidants it uses to neutralize free radicals. These antioxidants are called endogenous antioxidants. However, the body relies on external (exogenous) sources, primarily the diet, to obtain the rest of the antioxidants it needs. These exogenous antioxidants are commonly called dietary antioxidants. Fruits, vegetables, and grains are rich sources of dietary antioxidants. Some dietary antioxidants are also available as dietary supplements [9, 21].



Antioxidants according to their location:

The following are some antioxidants according to their location [22, 23]:

(i)   Plasma antioxidants: β-carotene, ascorbic acid, bilirubin, uric acid, ceruloplasmin, transferring.

(ii)  Cell membrane antioxidants: α-tocopherol.

(iii) Intra-cellular antioxidants: superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase.


The important Antioxidant is β-carotene, A precursor of vitamin A has antioxidant and free radical scavenging property. It also helps in immunomodulation, promotes increase in the numbers of T-helper and NK cells as well as cells with IL-2 receptors and inhibits mutagenesis and cancer cell growth [24-29].


The mineral element selenium is often thought to be a dietary antioxidant, but the antioxidant effects of selenium are most likely due to the antioxidant activity of proteins that have this element as an essential component (i.e., selenium-containing proteins) and not to selenium itself [30].


Many observational studies, including case–control studies and cohort studies, have been conducted to investigate whether the use of dietary antioxidant supplements is associated with reduced risks of cancer in humans. Overall, these studies have yielded mixed results [31].



Antioxidant level in our health is low which causes increase in oral cancer Intake of dietary antioxidants protect us from the harmful effects of free radicals. Foods with high antioxidants nutrients play a major role in disease prevention. It appears that diets low in antioxidant vitamins cannot only increase the risk of developing gum disease but influence its severity as well. Antioxidants supplements were once thought to be harmless but increasingly we are becoming aware of their interactions and potential toxicity.



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