Oxidative stress is defined as a disturbance in the prooxidant/antioxidant balance in favor of the former and a loss of control over redox signaling processes, leading to potential biomolecular damage. It is involved in the etiology of many diseases, varying from diabetes to neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) is a transcription factor and reported as one of the most important oxidative stress regulators. Due to its regulatory role in the expression of numerous cytoprotective genes involved in the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory responses, the modulation of NRF2 seems to be a promising approach in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Breast cancer is the prevalent type of tumor in women and is the leading cause of death among female cancers. Oxidative stress-related mechanisms are known to be involved in breast cancer, and therefore, NRF2 is considered to be beneficial in its prevention. However, its overactivation may lead to a negative clinical impact on breast cancer therapy by causing chemoresistance. Some known “oxidative stress modulators”, such as melatonin and polyphenols, are suggested to play an important role in the prevention and treatment of cancer, where the activation of NRF2 is reported as a possible underlying mechanism. In the present review, the potential involvement of oxidative stress and NRF2 in breast cancer will be reviewed, and the role of the NRF2 modulators—namely, polyphenols and melatonin—in the treatment of breast cancer will be discussed.
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