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September 2022

Int J Cancer. 1986 Mar; 37(3): 389-93.

Beta-carotene levels in exfoliated mucosa cells of population groups at low and elevated risk for oral cancer.

Stich HF, Hornby AP, Dunn BP.

Beta-carotene was estimated in exfoliated oral mucosa cells in groups of individuals at various risks for oral cancer. Approximately 4 X 10(6) exfoliated cells were collected from each subject by brushing the oral mucosa. Cell pellets were hydrolyzed with pronase and then with KOH/methanol. Beta-carotene was extracted with hexane, separated by reverse-phase HPLC, and detected at 450 nm. Mean beta-carotene levels in exfoliated cells were 0.08 ng/10(6) cells for 56 heavy consumers of alcoholic beverages (150 g or more per week), 1.36 ng/10(6) cells for 28 Seventh Day Adventists (all abstainers from alcohol, tobacco and meat consumption), 1.39 ng/10(6) cells for 55 lacto-vegetarians of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKC) (abstainers from alcohol and tobacco), and 1.08 ng/10(6) cells for 61 representatives of a "Western" life-style pattern (64% consumed the equivalent of at least one bottle of wine or 7 bottles of beer per week, and all were non-smokers). If the heavy alcohol consumers (males) are matched to non-drinking males of comparable age, the mean beta-carotene values are 0.08 ng versus 1.24 ng/10(6) cells. The possible involvement of the low levels of beta-carotene in the mucosa of heavy alcohol drinkers in increased sensitivity towards the carcinogenic and genotoxic activity of cigarette smoking plus alcohol ingestion is discussed.

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