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J Oral Maxillofac Pathol. 2019 Jan-Apr;23(1):157. doi: 10.4103/jomfp.JOMFP_164_17.

Comparative evaluation of micronuclei in exfoliated oral epithelial cells in potentially malignant disorders and malignant lesions using special stains.

Author information

Research Scientist and Consultant, StemGenn Therapeutics, New Delhi, India.
Radiodiagnosis, Ex. S.R., Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, New Delhi, India.
Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Hitech Dental College and Hospital, Health Park, Rasulgarh, Bhubneshwar, Odisha, India.
Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Chhattisgarh Dental College and Research Institute, Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh, India.
Dental Surgeon, Rural Hospital, Devrukh, Ratnagiri, Maharastra, India.



Micronuclei (MNs) are extranuclear cytoplasmic DNA bodies which are induced in cells by numerous genotoxic agents that damage chromosome. The MN assay in exfoliated buccal cells is a useful and minimally invasive method for monitoring genetic damage.


The aim of present study was to detect and assess MNs in oral exfoliated cells in patients diagnosed with leukoplakia with dysplasia, oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF) and oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) using special stains and to determine the most appropriate staining technique for the evaluation of MNs along with a comparative evaluation of MNs with histological grading.

Materials and Methods:

The study was conducted in the Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, CDCRI, Rajnandgaon, and a total of 45 subjects were included in the study who were subsequently divided into three groups (15 each). Four smears were obtained from each subject which were taken from the lesional tissue and stained simultaneously.


The results were analyzed via Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, version 23.0 (SPSS).


The results confirmed the association of MNs with genotoxic agents and showed an elevated number in OSCC followed by OSMF and leukoplakia. The frequency also increased with the severity of the lesion. Besides this, Papanicolaou (PAP) stain was found to be the most suitable stain for detection of MNs.


Based on the above pretext, we can conclude that PAP stain was the most suitable stain for valuation of MNs and that the MN assay holds promise as a specific biomarker of genotoxicity, for screening of oral cancer and can be used as a prognostic indicator.


Genotoxic agents; Papanicolaou stain; micronuclei

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