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The use of E-cigarettes as a risk factor for oral potentially malignant disorders and oral cancer: a rapid review of clinical evidence.

BACKGROUND: The popularity of e-cigarettes has increased rapidly in the last decade, particularly among teens and young adults, being advertised as a less harmful alternative to conventional tobacco products. However, in vitro and in vivo studies have evidenced a variable quantity of potentially harmful components and some recognized carcinogens which may cause DNA damage in oral cells. Additionally, evidence suggests that e-cigarettes may play active roles in the pathogenesis of other malignancies, such as lung and bladder cancers. Therefore, this rapid review aimed to assess the available clinical evidence about using e-cigarettes as a risk factor for oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMD) and oral cancer.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A systematic search for English language articles published was performed in PubMed (MEDLINE), Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science. After the study selection process, the authors included twelve clinical studies about OPMD and oral cancer risk in e-cigarette users.

RESULTS: The main findings showed the presence of carcinogenic compounds in saliva and morphologic changes, DNA damage, and molecular pathways related to carcinogenesis in the oral cells of e-cigarette users. However, results were inconsistent compared to tobacco smokers and control groups.

CONCLUSIONS: the current clinical evidence on this topic is limited and insufficient to support using e-cigarettes as a risk factor for OPMD and oral cancer. Nevertheless, dental care professionals should advise patients responsibly about the potentially harmful effects of e-cigarettes on the oral mucosa cells. Future long-term and well-designed clinical studies are needed.

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