Document Type : Research Articles
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, KSR Institute of Dental Science and Research, Tiruchengode, Namakkal, India.
Background: Tobacco is one of the main reasons behind the occurrence of oral cancer. Oral cancer, even though being the tenth most common cancer in the world, gets diagnosed at an advanced stage and ends up with poor prognosis. So early diagnosis is the need of the hour. Our study aimed to evaluate the genotoxic changes in patients with different tobacco habits using buccal exfoliated cells. Methods: Buccal smears were taken from smokers (30), smokeless tobacco users (30), combined tobacco users (30) and controls (30) with clinically normal oral mucosa. All the smears were stained with Papanicolaou stain and Feulgen stain and viewed under light microscope for the evaluation of mean number of micronuclei, mean micronuclei per cell, frequency of cells showing micronuclei, nuclear area, cytoplasmic area, nuclear-cytoplasmic ratio. Results: Mean number of micronuclei, mean micronuclei per cell, frequency of cells showing micronuclei, and nuclear area were significantly increased in tobacco users than controls, especially in combined tobacco users. Nuclear-cytoplasmic ratio was increased and cytoplasmic area was decreased in tobacco users than controls. Conclusion: Tobacco in any consumable form is genotoxic. Smoking and smokeless tobacco, when consumed together, synergistically causes higher genetic damage. Different tobacco habits have different deleterious effects on oral mucosa, and these effects are more pronounced when the patients have combined habits. So, detecting the genotoxic changes through exfoliative cytology can be used as a simple yet reliable marker for early detection of carcinogenesis.