4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Smokeless Tobacco (SLT) contains 9 times more nicotine than Smoked Tobacco (SMT). The carcinogenic effect of nicotine is intensified by converting nicotine-to-ni-cotine-derived Nitrosamines (NDNs). Methods: A review of the literature was conducted with a tailored search strategy to unravel the novel pathways and mechanisms of nicotine-induced oral carcinogenesis. Results: Nicotine and NDNs act on nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors (nAChRs) as agonists. Nicotine facilitates cravings through α4β2nAChR and α7nAChR, via enhanced brain dopamine release. Nicotine binding to nAChR promotes proliferation, migration, invasion, chemoresistance, radiore-sistance, and metastasis of oral cancer cells. Nicotine binding to α7nAChR on keratinocytes triggers Ras/Raf-1/MEK1/ERK cascade, promoting anti-apoptosis and pro-proliferative effects. Fur-thermore, the nicotine-enhanced metastasis is subdued on nAChR blockade through reduced nu-clear localization of p-EGFR. Conclusion: Protracted exposure to nicotine/NDN augments cancer-stimulatory α7nAChR and de-sensitizes cancer inhibitory α4β2nAChR. Since nAChRs dictate both addictive and carcinogenic effects of nicotine, it seems counterintuitive to designate nicotine just as an addictive agent devoid of any carcinogenicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-79
Number of pages14
JournalRecent Patents on Anti-Cancer Drug Discovery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 02-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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