Cytomorphometric Study of Changes in Buccal Mucosal Cells in Alcoholics

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Pathology, Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India

2 Department of Medicine, JIPMER, Puducherry, India

3 Department of Medicine, Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India

4 Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India


Background: Chronic alcohol consumption carries a high risk for oral and pharyngeal cancers among persons who have never smoked. Excessive alcohol consumption displays cytogenetic changes in oral mucosa cells. Cytomorphometric analysis of oral mucosal cells helps in the early detection of cytomorphological transformations in alcoholics before and after the onset of carcinoma. Materials and Methods: A prospective, hospital-based, comparative study was done after written informed consent. Smears were obtained from the clinically normal buccal mucosa of 102 randomly selected alcoholic patients attending the medicine outpatient department aged above 25 years who consumed a minimum of 45 ml alcohol per day for at least 10 years and of 102 nonalcoholics as control. The slides were immediately fixed in absolute methanol and stained by the Papanicolaou (Pap) staining technique. PAP-stained smears were examined under the light microscope. Using the image J 1.47 image analysis software, a morphometric analysis of around 50 cells/case was done. Results: A statistically significant increase in mean cytoplasmic area (P < 0.001), mean nuclear area (P < 0.01), and cell-to-nuclear parameter ratio (P < 0.001) was seen in the alcohol group in comparison with the control group. Conclusion: Prolonged consumption of alcohol produces cytomorphometric changes in buccal mucosal cells before the onset of premalignant lesions.


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