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Am J Hum Biol. 2011 May-Jun;23(3):423-5. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.21144. Epub 2011 Mar 28.

Right hand digit ratio (2D:4D) is associated with oral cancer.

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Piracicaba Dental School, Department of Oral Diagnosis, Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil 13414-903.


Finger length ratio has been proposed as a putative marker for prenatal hormone exposure, as well as the action of HOX, AR, and a variant of the LIN28b genes. These genes have been recently connected to carcinogenesis and digit ratio could help to identify patients with this predisposition.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the possible correlations between digit ratio, oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC)-the most common oral cancer-and oral premalignant lesions (OPLs) in tobacco-consuming males, the main risk group for this disease.


Digital images of the right hands of patients diagnosed with OSCC (n = 25), OPLs (n = 25), and age-matched controls (n = 25) were obtained. Fingers were measured using Adobe Photoshop and the mean ratios between the 2nd and 4th digits were compared. Data were analyzed by ANOVA (α = 0.05).


Risk factors (alcohol and tobacco consumption, familial history) were similar between the three study groups. Males in the OSCC group presented significantly higher digit ratio (P = 0.03) in comparison with males with OPLs and individuals without oral lesions.


According to the results, males with the higher digit ratio seem to be more prone to undergo malignization of lesions in the oral cavity. Similar deleterious habits for the three groups allows us to infer that digit ratio could add to the research of etiological factors and be a putative marker for the screening of patients' susceptibility to develop oral squamous cell carcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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