Mechanisms of Action of Dietary Antioxidant Induced Enhancement of Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy

The exact reasons for the dietary antioxidant mi-cronutrient-induced enhancement of damage produced by standard therapeutic agents on cancer cells are unknown. We propose the following:

• The treatment of tumor cells with high doses of these micronutrients before irradiation or radiotherapy or chemotherapy may initiate changes in the expression of genes that cause differentiation, growth inhibition, and/or apoptosis (22, 24, 26-28, 33, 49-56). The resulting damage will continue to progress during the entire therapeutic period.

• Free radicals produced by cancer treatment become irrelevant to antioxidant-affected cancer cells; however, other mechanisms of damage continue to exert their influence. Micronutri-ents such as retinoic acid inhibit the repair of radiation damage in cancer cells more than in normal cells (60). In contrast to cancer cells, normal cells are not harmed by these dietary antioxidants. When treated with radiation or chemotherapeutic agents, antioxidants protect them at least from damage by free radicals.

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