Role of nutrition in cancer of the oral cavity

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Tobacco usage and chronic alcohol consumption are the major risk factors for cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract. However, several lines of evidence suggest that nutritional deficiencies are also involved, especially in the growing number of tongue cancers in non-users of tobacco and alcohol. Since the early findings of a link between oral cavity cancer and Plummer-Vinson syndrome in Swedish women, several epidemiological investigations have found that the dietary intake of fruits is lower among oral cavity cancer cases and in regions with a high incidence of oral cancers. Metabolic epidemiological studies have suggested that blood levels of nutrients such as vitamin A, riboflavin and β-carotene are deficient in patients with oral cancer and in inhabitants of regions with a high incidence of this disease. Although experimentally-induced deficiencies of these nutrients can bring about histological and metabolic changes consistent with an increased susceptibility to cancer, little is known regarding the biochemical mechanisms involved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-57
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 18 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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