Lung cancer is currently the leading cause of cancer-related mortality among men and women in the United States, and optimal screening methods are still lacking. The field effect is a well-supported phenomenon wherein a noxious stimulus triggers genetic, epigenetic and molecular changes that are widespread throughout the entire exposed organ system. The buccal epithelium is an easily accessible part of the respiratory tree that has good potential of yielding a surrogate marker for the field effect in cigarette smokers, and thus, a noninvasive, reliable lung cancer screening method. Herein, we review the literature on the relationship between the buccal epithelium, cigarette smoking, and lung cancer.
- Buccal epithelium
- Lung cancer