AIM: To analyse the cytomorphological features of keratinocytes in smears obtained from the oral mucosa of tobacco users and from oral squamous cell carcinoma lesions. METHODOLOGY: Oral smears were obtained from clinically, normal appearing mucosa of oral squamous cell carcinoma patients (n=20) and from the mucosa of smokers (n=20), and apparently healthy individuals (n=20) were used as controls. The smears were histochemically stained and cytomorphological assessment of the keratinocytes was carried out. One-way ANOVA (Analysis of Variance) was used for comparing the parameters among multiple groups and Tukey-HSD test was used to compare the mean values between groups. RESULTS: The mean nuclear area of keratinocytes from the mucosa of tobacco users was 46 +/- 2.57 and that of the oral squamous cell carcinoma lesion was 81.54 +/- 4.31. While there was a significant (P = 0.001) reduction in the cellular area of keratinocytes from oral squamous cell carcinoma lesion when compared with those from oral smears of tobacco users. CONCLUSION: Cytomorphometric analysis of keratinocytes can serve as a useful adjunct in the early diagnosis of oral squamous cell carcinomas.
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