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Establishing A Carcinoma Culture For Studying Changes In The Notorious Oral Cancer

Statistics published, close to 60% of individuals who receive the diagnosis of oral cancer would die in 5 years of diagnosis. Close to 54,000 people receive the diagnosis in the US that accounts for 13,500 deaths annually! The deaths due to oral cancer are more than that of testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and cervical cancer. This danger is attributed to a lack of symptoms or pain that is obvious or readily recognizable symptoms along with the risk of other tumours.

According to research in the Journal of oral and maxillofacial pathology by Sharma and team in 2014, oral cancer occupies the top three spots in India. Oral cancer is the cancer of lips, mouth and tongue, according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) coding scheme. A higher extent of individuals affected belongs to low-income groups in India as they have habits such as chewing tobacco or lack of access to diagnosis and latest technologies. These cause delays in the diagnosis of oral cancer.

There are multiple factors such as many environmental factors associated with the development of oral cancer. While there are advances in the therapeutic strategies, there have been no improvements in the survival rates of oral cancer patients, according to Nature Reviews Cancer (2011).

In order to study oral tumours that can facilitate a deeper understanding of this disease, a model system can be the use of cell lines. These primary cultures of tumours can allow studies to investigate the mechanisms associated with cancer pathogenesis. This is because of the similarity between the original tumours and Cancer Cell Line. The cell lines can also be used to assay the various effects of drug molecules.

In order to assess these effects, Patil and team (2014) established in the Journal of Oral Oncology a protocol to culture oral cancer carcinomas that can serve as a model to understand oral cancer pathology. The cell line was isolated from a male patient suffering from a tongue tumour sample who used to chew “gutkha”. This is composed of areca nut, tobacco and slaked lime and is chewed. Research has shown that precancerous lesions can result from this habit that can transform into malignancy.

Such a cell line has been described as isolated from a source who never smoked tobacco and the number of research articles of cell lines from Indian smokeless tobacco users. This cell line serves as a useful tool to unravel the regulatory pathways in oral carcinogenesis and may help in a better understanding of oral cancer biology.


Smokeless tobacco (paan and gutkha) consumption, prevalence, and contribution to oral cancer. Epidemiol Health. 2017;39:e2017009.

Sharma, S., Satyanarayana, L., Asthana, S., Shivalingesh, K. K., Goutham, B. S., & Ramachandra, S. (2018). Oral cancer statistics in India on the basis of first report of 29 population-based cancer registries. Journal of oral and maxillofacial pathology : JOMFP22(1), 18–26.

  1. R. Leemans, B. J. M. Braakhuis, and R. H. Brakenhoff, “The molecular biology of head and neck cancer,” Nature Reviews Cancer, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 9–22, 2011.

Tejas T. Patil, Pradnya K. Kowtal, Abhijeet Nikam, Madan S. Barkume, Asawari Patil, Shubhada V. Kane, Aarti S. Juvekar, Manoj B. Mahimka and Jyoti J. Kayal. Establishment of a Tongue Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cell Line from Indian Gutka Chewer. Hindawi Publishing Corporation, Journal of Oral Oncology:  Volume 2014, Article ID 286013, 9 pages.

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