Anticancer and antiviral activity of chlorine dioxide by its induction of the reactive oxygen species

Yonggyun Kim, Sunil Kumar, Wonsu Cheon, Hyunji Eo, Hyeok Kwon, Yongho Jeon, Jinboo Jung, Wook Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Chlorine dioxide has been used for a disinfectant by exhibiting antimicrobial activity and is also potent to kill insect pests infesting stored grains. This study aimed to extend the usefulness of chlorine dioxide with respect to anticancer and antiviral activities. Cytotoxicity of chlorine dioxide was assessed against five different human cancer cell lines. Chlorine dioxide exhibited significant cytotoxicity against two breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231) and three colorectal cancer cell lines (LoVo, HCT-116, SW-480). This cytotoxicity appeared to be associated with the capacity of chlorine dioxide to induce the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Compared to control insect cell lines, the cancer cell lines possessed much higher levels of ROS. On the other hand, a treatment of an antioxidant, vitamin E, significantly reduced the cytotoxicity, suggesting that the cytotoxicity was induced by high levels of ROS production. Chlorine dioxide exhibited antiviral activity against different viruses. A baculovirus, Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus (AcNPV), is a dsDNA insect virus and lost its viral activity to form polyhedral viral particles in response to chlorine dioxide. The antiviral activity against AcNPV was dependent on the incubation time with chlorine dioxide. Tobacco mosaic virus is a ssRNA plant virus and was reduced in its population after exposure to chlorine dioxide along with significant decrease of viral symptoms. These results indicate that chlorine dioxide possesses anticancer and antiviral activities probably due to its inducing activity of ROS production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-36
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Korean Society for Applied Biological Chemistry 2016.


  • Anticancer
  • Antivirus
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Organic Chemistry


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