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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2007 Apr-Jun;8(2):263-6.

Influence of regular black tea consumption on tobacco associated DNA damage and HPV prevalence in human oral mucosa.

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Dept of Oncogene Regulation, Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata, India.


Black tea is more widely consumed than green tea worldwide, particularly in India. Therefore, it is necessary to focus attention on black tea with respect to its health promoting and anti-cancer actions. In order to establish the concept that black tea is a potential candidate for cancer prevention, it is important to provide epidemiological evidence derived from investigations of human populations. In view of this, the objective of the present study was to determine the correlation between nature of black tea consumption and DNA damage in normal subjects with or without tobacco habit and oral cancer patients, taking the latter as positive controls. Much experimental evidence points to associations between tobacco habit and HPV 16 and HPV 18 (Human Papilloma virus) infection. But no studies have taken into account the possible confounding effect of black tea consumption on DNA damage along with HPV infection. A pilot study was therefore undertaken. Comet assay was used to evaluate the DNA damage among normal subjects including tobacco users (n = 86), non-tobacco users (n = 45) and Oral cancer patients (n = 37). Percentage of damaged cells was scored in the buccal squamous cells of all subjects mentioned above. HPV analysis was performed on 79 samples (including 37 oral cancer patients). The evaluation of various confounding factors like age, tenure of tobacco habit and tea habit showed significant associations with DNA damage. The observations strongly indicate that regular intake of black tea at least above four cups can reduce tobacco associated DNA damage among normal tobacco users. HPV prevalence was not seen to be associated with age, tenure of tobacco habit or the tea drinking habit.

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