Effects of the interaction of tobacco smoke and alcohol consumption on buccal micronucleus in workers occupationaly exposed to formaldehyde

C Ladeira, Susana Viegas, E. Carolino, J. Prista, M. Brito

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Occupational exposure to formaldehyde has been shown to induce nasopharyngeal cancer and has been classified as carcinogenic to humans (group 1) on the basis of sufficient evidence. Tobacco smoke has been associated to a higher risk of development of cancer, especially in the oral cavity as this is a place of direct contact with many carcinogenic tobaccós compounds. Alcohol is a recognized agent that influence cells in a genotoxic form, been citied as a strong agent with potential in the development of carcinogenic lesions. Epidemiological evidence points to a strong synergistic effect between cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption in the induction of cancers in the oral cavity. Approximately 90% of human cancers originate from epithelial cells. Therefore, it could be argued that oral epithelial cells represent a preferred target site for early genotoxic events induced by carcinogenic agents entering the body via inhalation and ingestion. The MN assay in buccal cells was also used to study cancerous and precancerous lesions and to monitor the effects of a number of chemopreventive agents. The study was carried out in Portugal in a sample of 56 workers occupationally exposed to formaldehyde in pathology anatomy laboratories and in 85 non-exposed subjects. Both groups were asked about their smoking and drinking habits. The evaluation of genotoxic effects was conducted by applying MN test in exfoliated cells from buccal mucosa.
It was observed higher MN means in drinkers in both groups exposed and non-exposed, but did not reach statistical relevance. The analysis of the interaction between the alcohol and tobacco demonstrate an interaction between subjects that did not drink and did not smoke and subjects who drink and smoke but that interaction did not reach statistical signification (p = 0.054).
In studies of lifestyle factors, it was difficult to differentiate the alcohol effect from smoking effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S43-S43
JournalToxicology Letters
Issue numberS
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2010
EventInternational Congress of Toxicology - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 19 Jul 201023 Jul 2010
Conference number: 12


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