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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Oral lesions, genotoxicity and nitrosamines in betel quid chewers with no obvious increase in oral cancer risk.

A link between the generation of areca nut-related N-nitrosamines in the saliva, the induction of genotoxic damage in the oral mucosa, as judged by an increase in micronucleated exfoliated cells (MEC), and a low incidence of oral cancer was studied in 2 population groups characterized by their habit of chewing quids without tobacco: Guamanians, who chew areca nuts (Areca catechu) with or without the addition of betel leaf (Piper betle); Taiwanese, who use areca nut, betel leaf or inference and slaked lime. The levels of N-nitrosoguvacoline (NG) in the saliva of chewers of fresh green areca nuts were very high (70.8 ng/ml) as compared to those reported for individuals using the more complex Indian betel quids (0.91 ng/ml or 5.6 ng/ml). None of the other areca nut-related nitrosamines (N-nitrosoguvacine (NGC), 3-(methylnitrosamino)propionitrile (MNPN) and 3-(methylnitrosamino)propionaldehyde (MNPA)) were detected in the saliva of Taiwanese betel quid chewers. The addition of slaked lime to the areca nut enhances the formation of NG during a chewing session. The frequency of MEC did not increase in the oral mucosa of areca nut chewers who do not use slaked lime, but showed a small but significant elevation in individuals using lime-containing quids. The elevation of MEC in Taiwanese, who are at low risk for oral cancer, is relatively small as compared to that found in chewers of Indian betel quids (pan), who show a highly elevated oral cancer risk. The results seem to suggest that NG may play only a minor role, if any, in the etiology of oral cancer among betel quid chewers.[1]


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