Monitoring of oxidative stress in nurses occupationally exposed to antineoplastic drugs

M. Mahboob, M. F. Rahman, P. V. Rekhadevi, N. Sailaja, A. Balasubramanyam, P. V. Prabhakar, Shailendra Pratap Singh, Utkarsh A. Reddy, G. Sankara Rao, Paramjit Grover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Antineoplastic drugs (ANDs) have been in clinical usage for more than five decades. The nonselective mechanism of action of ANDs between cancerous and noncancerous cells had well documented side effects such as acute symptoms, reproductive health issues, and potential cancer development in healthcare workers as a result of occupational exposure. The anticancer mechanism of ANDs is the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which are responsible for various side effects in patients undergoing chemotherapy and the healthcare personnel occupationally exposed to them. ROS have potential to damage lipids, DNA, proteins, and so on leading to oxidative stress condition. The aim of this study was to evaluate the possible oxidative stress effect of antineoplastic drugs in nurses who routinely handle ANDs in an oncology hospital in south India. Malondialdehyde levels, reduced glutathione content, and glutathione S-transferase activity were analyzed in serum collected from 60 female nurses handling ANDs and compared with equal number of healthy volunteers matched by age and sex except AND exposure. The results showed statistically significant (P < 0.05) increase in malondialdehyde levels in the serum of exposed nurses. However, glutathione content and glutathione S-transferase activity was significantly decreased in these nurses. Our study suggests that the nurses occupationally exposed to ANDs were susceptible to the oxidative stress and emphasizes the need for a harmonized safe handling approach that assures minimal risk to the working nurses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-24
Number of pages5
JournalToxicology International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Antineoplastic drugs
  • antioxidant
  • nurses
  • oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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