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Black tea (Camellia sinensis) as a chemopreventive agent in oral precancerous lesions.

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Department of Genetics, Vivekananda Institute of Medical Sciences, Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan, 99, Sarat Bose Road, Kolkata - 700 026, India.


Oral carcinoma is the most common malignancy found in adult Indian men and the third most common in adult Indian women. About half of all cases are found to be associated with precancerous lesions, chiefly leukoplakia. We wanted to explore the possible benefits of black tea (Camellia sinensis) administered to patients with oral leukoplakia. Eighty-two subjects with oral leukoplakia underwent micronuclei and chromosomal assays on exfoliated oral mucosal epithelium, after which they received black tea in a fixed regimen. The micronuclei assay was repeated at 6 months, and the chromosomal study at 1 year. After the first year, the first 15 patients entered onto this study showed a significant decrease in the micronuclei frequency and chromosomal aberrations, which correlated with the clinical improvement. Several in vitro and animal studies have suggested the efficacy of tea in the chemoprevention of cancer. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the effect of black tea in oral leukoplakia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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