Oxidative stress: A new risk factor for thyroid cancer

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44 Scopus citations


Oxidative stress (OS) is a state of excessive free radicals and reactive metabolites among which the most important class is reactive oxygen species (ROS) - radicals derived from oxygen - as represented by the superoxide anion radical (O 2 .-) and its reactive metabolites, hydroxyl radical (.OH) and hydrogen peroxide (H 2O 2). In essence, OS represents an imbalance between the production of oxidants - ROS - and their elimination by antioxidative systems in the body. Many studies have linked OS to thyroid cancer by showing its association with abnormally regulated oxidative or antioxidative molecules. The study by Wang et al. in the December 2011 issue of Endocrine-Related Cancer (18, 773-782) further supports this relationship by demonstrating a high total oxidant status and OS index in thyroid cancer patients. The origin of ROS in thyroid cancer patients has not been defined, but thyroid cancer itself can be one since inflammation, a major event in it, is a classical source of ROS. ROS may in turn enhance the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) pathways, forming a vicious cycle propelling thyroid tumorigenesis. Regardless of the mechanism, the clinical implication of the association of OS with thyroid cancer is severalfold: one, OS is a new risk factor for thyroid cancer; two, OS confers thyroid cancer patients an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, degenerative neurological disorders, and other cancers that are classically associated with OS; and three, interference with OS may reduce this risk and be therapeutically beneficial to thyroid cancer itself in thyroid cancer patients. These interesting possibilities deserve further studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C7-C11
JournalEndocrine-related cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Oncology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cancer Research


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