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Ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate amongst all gynecologic malignancies. A major role in its initiation and progression is played by DNA damage, mostly caused by oxidative stress. The presented study was designed to determine whether oxidative stress plays an important role in ovarian malignancy. Serum malondialdehyde (MDA) was measured as an indicator of lipid peroxidation and antioxidant status was assessed by estimating serum vitamin E and erythrocyte superoxide dismutase (SOD) levels. Finally, the status of antioxidants and lipid peroxidation was correlated with the pathophysiology of ovarian cancer. The study comprised of thirty age-matched controls and sixty ovarian cancer patients - thirty patients of stage II and thirty of stage IV, all selected by transvaginal sonography and confirmed by histopathological examination. The results reveal that serum MDA levels were increased, while serum vitamin E and erythrocyte SOD levels decreased, as the disease progressed from stage II to IV. These results suggest that the increased serum MDA levels indicate oxidative stress which may cause DNA damage which is one of the causative factors for cancer. Low levels of vitamin E and SOD could be due to the increased utilization of these antioxidants in scavenging the lipid peroxides, production of which overrides the antioxidant defense leading to increased MDA in serum.
Ovarian cancer, oxidative stress, antioxidants, malondialdehyde (MDA), vitamin E, superoxide dismutase.