In this study, we assessed the role of different reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by soft jet plasma and chemical-induced ROS systems with regard to cell death in T98G, A549, HEK293 and MRC5 cell lines. For a comparison with plasma, we generated superoxide anion (O2(-)), hydroxyl radical (HO·), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) with chemicals inside an in vitro cell culture. Our data revealed that plasma decreased the viability and intracellular ATP values of cells and increased the apoptotic population via a caspase activation mechanism. Plasma altered the mitochondrial membrane potential and eventually up-regulated the mRNA expression levels of BAX, BAK1 and H2AX gene but simultaneously down-regulated the levels of Bcl-2 in solid tumor cells. Moreover, a western blot analysis confirmed that plasma also altered phosphorylated ERK1/2/MAPK protein levels. At the same time, using ROS scavengers with plasma, we observed that scavengers of HO· (mannitol) and H2O2 (catalase and sodium pyruvate) attenuated the activity of plasma on cells to a large extent. In contrast, radicals generated by specific chemical systems enhanced cell death drastically in cancer as well as normal cell lines in a dose-dependent fashion but not specific with regard to the cell type as compared to plasma.