Joseph Guttenplan of the the New York City College of Dentistry and Dr. Karam El-Bayoumy of the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine say smoking is understood to be one of the leading causes of oral cancer, but research on oral cancer in has been limited to using synthetic carcinogens manufactured especially for cancer research, instead of examining the carcinogens that occur in tobacco smoke.
The researchers injected low, medium and high doses of dibenzo(a,l)pyrene, a carcinogen in tobacco, into the mouths of 104 mice. After 38 weeks, one group of the mice developed excessive numbers of mutations in their oral tissue and within one year, 31 percent of a second group of mice displayed large tumors in their mouths.
"As a result of this study, we now have a model that is significantly better than past models which relied on synthetic carcinogens," Guttenplan says in a statement. "We plan to use this new model in future studies to examine potential agents for cancer prevention."
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington.