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AACR: Smoking Damage Similar in Mouth, Lungs

Oral cavity tissue could be used as a surrogate to assess molecular alterations in lung tissue

THURSDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- In smokers, the oral cavity undergoes molecular alterations similar to those that occur in lung tissue, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in San Diego.

Manisha Bhutani, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues studied 127 chronic smokers who were enrolled in a prospective randomized placebo-controlled chemoprevention trial and obtained 1,774 samples from oral and bronchial brushes at baseline and three months after the intervention.

At baseline, the researchers found that promoter methylation for p16, FHIT, and any of the two genes occurred in 23 percent, 17 percent and 35 percent, respectively, of the bronchial tissues, and in 19 percent, 15 percent and 31 percent, respectively, of the oral tissues. In the 39 subjects with oral tissue methylation in any of the two genes, they found that the mean bronchial methylation index was 0.53 compared to only 0.27 in the 86 subjects without oral tissue methylation. Three months after the chemopreventive intervention, they observed similar correlations.

"Oral epithelium may be used as a surrogate tissue to assess tobacco-induced molecular damage in lungs, which has potential implications in lung cancer prevention trials," the authors conclude.


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