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Open Access Research article

Oxidative stress level is not associated with survival in terminally ill cancer patients: a preliminary study

Chang Hwan Yeom1, Youn Seon Choi2, Hong Yup Ahn3, Su Hey Lee2 and In Cheol Hwang4*

Author Affiliations

1 Ucell clinic, Seoul, Republic of Korea

2 Department of Family Medicine, Korea University Guro Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea

3 Department of Statistics, Dongguk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

4 Palliative Care Unit, Division of Cancer Control & Prevention, Incheon Regional Cancer Center, 1198 Guwol-dong, Namdong-gu, Incheon 405-760, Republic of Korea

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BMC Palliative Care 2014, 13:14  doi:10.1186/1472-684X-13-14

Published: 21 March 2014



While cancer patients have higher oxidative stress (OS) and lower antioxidant activity, evidence for the association of these parameters with survival in patients with terminally ill cancer is lacking.


We followed 65 terminal cancer patients prospectively. We assessed their performance status, some symptoms, and serum levels of vitamin C and OS level. The Gehan’s generalized Wilcoxon test was used to examine the association between survival times and variables.


Subjects’ performance status was very poor and they had a high level of OS and a low level of vitamin C. No significant association of these two parameters with survival time was noted (p-value, 0.637 for high OS and 0.240 for low vitamin C). Poor performance status was independently related to high OS status after adjusting for potential confounders (adjusted OR, 4.45; p-value, 0.031).


In this study, OS was not associated with survival of terminally ill cancer patients and its prognostic role requires further study.