Association between head-and-neck cancers and active and passive cigarette smoking


Although there have been many reports on the toxicity of tobacco smoke, fewer studies have reported the relationship between the smoke and carcinogenesis of head-and-neck cancers. It is assumed that direct stimulations due to tobacco smoke, such as chemical and mechanical stimulations, strongly influence the epithelium of the nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, pharynx, and larynx. We investigated the influence of active and passive cigarette smoking on head-and-neck cancers. The subjects were 283 head-and-neck cancer patients examined at the otolaryngology department of Showa University Northern Yokohama Hospital in a 9-year and 2-month period from April 2001 to June 2010, in whom the presence or absence of active and passive cigarette smoking could be confirmed in detail. The active and passive smoking rates and the Brinkman index were retrospectively investigated according to the primary cancer site, gender, and histopathological classification. The active and passive smoking rates were high (about 90%) in patients with hypopharyngeal, laryngeal, and cervical esophageal cancers, and the Brinkman index was high in all. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) patients accounted for a high ratio of the head-and-neck cancer patients, and the active and passive smoking rates were significantly higher in SCC than in non-squamous cell carcinoma (non-SCC) patients (p < 0.0003). The active and passive smoking rates and the Brinkman index were high in patients with head-and-neck cancers in regions receiving strong direct stimulation from tobacco smoke, and the Brinkman index was also high in these patients, suggesting that carcinogenesis of head-and-neck cancers is strongly influenced by direct tobacco smoke stimulation.

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Kushihashi, Y. , Kadokura, Y. , Takiguchi, S. , Kyo, Y. , Yamada, Y. , Shino, M. , Kano, M. and Suzaki, H. (2012) Association between head-and-neck cancers and active and passive cigarette smoking. Health, 4, 619-624. doi: 10.4236/health.2012.49097.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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