Background: The exact cause of brain tumours is still unknown, but disruptions of redox balance are thought to play a significant role in all stages of brain tumour development. However, the roles of free radical imbalance at different grades of brain tumour and degree of oxidative stress before and after surgery have not been addressed in prior studies.
Aim: A comparative cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the redox imbalance among confirmed brain tumour patients.
Methods and results: An institution-based comparative cross-sectional study was conducted on a total of 100 participants (50 brain tumour patients and 50 controls) at referral hospitals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Descriptive statistics, t-test and analysis of variance (ANOVA) (post-hoc) analysis were used and statistical significance was declared at p ≤ 0.05. The serum oxidised glutathione and total oxidative stress were significantly higher in the serum of brain tumour patients (0.72 ± 0.03 μM/μg and 9.66 ± 1.76 μmol H2O2 Eq/L, respectively) compared to the control group (0.21 ± 0.07 μM/μg and 6.59 ± 0.81 μmol H2O2 Eq/L, respectively) (p ≤ 0.05). The serum total oxidant status gradually increased as the tumour grade increased, being higher in grade four (11.96 ± 0.72) and lower in grade one (8.43 ± 1.56), and the mean differences were statistically significant (p ≤ 0 05). A statistically significantly higher total antioxidant capacity (116.78 ± 5.03 Trolox Eq/L) was obtained in the post-surgery than pre-surgery level (79.65 ± 17.914 Trolox Eq/L) (p ≤ 0 05).
Conclusion: Higher oxidant and lower antioxidant levels were found in the serum of brain tumour patients than in the control group. The post-surgery oxidant level was lower than the pre-surgery state. The findings of this study could suggest that redox imbalance may have a role in the pathophysiology of brain tumours, but further experimental studies are needed.