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Interfering with ROS Metabolism in Cancer Cells: The Potential Role of Quercetin

Department of Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via Campi 287, 41125 Modena, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cancers 2010, 2(2), 1288-1311;
Received: 6 May 2010 / Revised: 8 June 2010 / Accepted: 11 June 2010 / Published: 14 June 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oxidative Stress and Cancer)
PDF [402 KB, uploaded 14 June 2010]


A main feature of cancer cells, when compared to normal ones, is a persistent pro-oxidative state that leads to an intrinsic oxidative stress. Cancer cells have higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) than normal cells, and ROS are, in turn, responsible for the maintenance of the cancer phenotype. Persistent ROS stress may induce adaptive stress responses, enabling cancer cells to survive with high levels of ROS and maintain cellular viability. However, excessive ROS levels render cancer cells highly susceptible to quercetin, one of the main dietary flavonoids. Quercetin depletes intracellular glutathione and increases intracellular ROS to a level that can cause cell death. View Full-Text
Keywords: cancer; reactive oxygen species; redox homeostasis; flavonoids; quercetin cancer; reactive oxygen species; redox homeostasis; flavonoids; quercetin

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Gibellini, L.; Pinti, M.; Nasi, M.; De Biasi, S.; Roat, E.; Bertoncelli, L.; Cossarizza, A. Interfering with ROS Metabolism in Cancer Cells: The Potential Role of Quercetin. Cancers 2010, 2, 1288-1311.

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