A few years ago, scientists in Sweden sparked a heated debate when they published research suggesting that taking antioxidant supplements, such as vitamin E, could make cancer more invasive. Their revelations challenged the belief that antioxidants can help fight cancer.
The researchers anticipate that these findings will lead to new treatments for lung cancer, which kills more people worldwide than any other cancer.
Cancer cells need lots of sugar, or glucose, to help them grow rapidly and metastasize, or spread. To meet this need, they use an energy-making process that is faster than the one that noncancerous cells use.
The downside of having this faster energy mechanism is that it produces lots of molecules called free oxygen radicals that place significant chemical stress on cells.
The new studies, which the researchers carried out using human tissue and mice, reveal how lung cancer cells use antioxidants to withstand oxidative stress and thrive.
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