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Int J Cancer. 1983 Mar 15;31(3):305-8.

Quantitating the synergistic effect of smoking and alcohol consumption with the micronucleus test on human buccal mucosa cells.


The micronucleus test was applied to exfoliated cells of the buccal mucosa of four population groups: (A) non-smokers and non-drinkers of alcoholic beverages, (B) non-smokers but alcohol drinkers, (C) smokers but non-drinkers, and (D) smokers and drinkers. An elevated frequency of micronucleated buccal mucosa cells was observed only in group D (smokers and alcohol drinkers). When group D was subdivided according to the number of cigarettes smoked, the frequency of micronucleated buccal cells and the average number of micronuclei per cell appeared to depend upon cigarette consumption. An approximately eight-fold increase of micronucleated mucosa cells was seen among alcohol drinkers who smoked three or more packs of cigarettes per day, and an approximately 4.2-fold elevation was observed when one to two packs were consumed. Neither smoking alone of up to and over 60 cigarettes per day nor ethanol drinking alone of up to 1.21 per day led to a detectable elevation of micronucleated buccal mucosa cells. Whether the strong synergistic effect between smoking and alcohol consumption, as seen by the frequency of micronucleated buccal mucosa cells, is related to their synergistic effect in the induction of oral cancers is an intriguing but open question.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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