Pattern of Smokeless Tobacco Use in Various Age Groups and Its Association withthe Frequency of Micronuclei in Exfoliated Buccal Cells
Pattern of Smokeless Tobacco Use in Various Age Groups
Introduction: Exfoliated buccal epithelial cells serve as an ideal site for an assessment of genotoxic events. Exfoliative cytology is economical and minimally invasive, its specificity and sensitivity of over 95% makes it an ideal diagnostic tool for mass screening purposes. An assessment of micronuclei in buccal epithelial cells gives a fair idea about the genotoxic events occurring in the oral cavity. Subjects and Methods: A case controlled study was performed on 300 participants. The participants were divided into four broad categories according to their pattern of consumption of smokeless tobacco. Thereafter they were subdivided in to various age groups. The distribution was done equally with 60 participants in each broad category. Results: The results in our study show that young adults consume the packaged form of smokeless tobacco while adults above 50 consumed tobacco leaves. Oral lesions were more common in young adults. Cellular alterations in the form of micronuclei were observed to have progressively increased from the control group to tobacco to gutkha users and the frequency of micronuclei was found to be highest in the oral lesions group. Conclusion: Certain lifestyle factors, such as consumption of smokeless tobacco are one of the major factors causing oral lesions. Frequency of micronuclei was assessed in exfoliated buccal epithelial cells. Maximum number of micronuclei was found in the oral lesion group. The age group with maximum cellular alterations was between 30-40 years. Hence we conclude that an assessment of micronuclei can be used as a biomarker for mass screening purposes since it is economical and a non- invasive procedure.