Objectives: Smoking and tobacco leaf chewing are important predisposing factors of oral cancer. Chronic tobacco users are so much addicted that they are unable to get rid of their habits even after developing frank oral cavity cancers. Personal and psychological counseling, life style modifications have failed to de‐addict these individuals. Serum nicotine level falls sharply and provokes them for further use of tobacco to keep sustained level of nicotine in blood. It has been observed that chewing of Indian medicinal plant root curcuma longa (turmeric, haldi) or its active ingredients curcumin is effective to de‐addict tobacco users. Present paper is a pilot study to translate these clinical findings into scientifically explained observations.

Methods: Patients with pre‐cancerous lesions or oro‐pharyngeal cancers with habits of chronic smoking or tobacco chewing were recruited for the study. The study conducted between September 2003 to August 2005 in collaboration with Department of Biochemistry and Radiotherapy, Medical College, Calcutta. Of total 256 patients (132 in control arm and 124 in study arm); M: F = 90:10; 196/256 (75%) were smokers and others were tobacco chewers. Serum nicotine level estimated at monthly interval for three months. Study arm patients were given simultaneously curcuma longa for consecutive three months and serum nicotine level was compared with control arm. Addiction potentiality was recorded by our counselor.

Results: Control arm patients had the same addiction dependency as before but amongst study arm patients (n=132) 84/132 (63.6%) completely gave up smoking or tobacco chewing. 19 patients (14.3%) dropped smoking less than 10 cigarettes per day and 14 patients (10.6%) tobacco chewing decreased from 10‐times to less than 2‐times per day. The difference is statistically significant.

Conclusion: Initial result of our ongoing study is very much encouraging. The details of the present study will be discussed at the time of presentation.

Citation Information: Cancer Prev Res 2010;3(1 Suppl):B144.