This study was undertaken to assess the biologic aggressiveness of sub mucous fibrosis, lichen planus, leukoplakia and squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity by determining the mean number of AgNORs and comparing them with those of normal mucosa. The study sample consisted of total 93 subjects. Biopsy specimens of 26 squamous cell carcinomas, 22 sub mucous fibrosis, 15 lichen planus, 15 leukoplakia and 15 healthy oral mucosa were taken. AgNORs were assessed both quantitatively and qualitatively. The data were analyzed using Student's independent t-test. Quantitatively significant difference existed in the number of AgNORs between the normal mucosa, premalignant lesions and carcinomas. AgNOR quantity is strictly proportional to the proliferative activity of the cell and does not necessarily indicate malignancy. It is the qualitative characteristics of AgNOR that help to differentiate premalignant and malignant lesions.
Key words: AgNORS, nucleolar organizer regions, oral cancer, potentially malignan
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