Introduction: Incidence of oral epithelial dysplasia and oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is very high in south Asian countries as compared to western population owing to a greater use of tobacco in these regions. While visual examination and exfoliative cytology are the most common screening and diagnostic modalities at present, it is a subjective analysis. Quantitative analyses such as nuclear size, cell size, and nuclear-to-cytoplasmic ratio may provide an accurate diagnosis and improve reproducibility. The aim of the study was to evaluate the role of morphometry as a diagnostic adjunct to exfoliative cytology and to derive a significant cutoff to identify the population at risk for development of SCC among chronic tobacco users. Material and Methods: This was an outpatient-based prospective study done in a tertiary hospital over a period of 2 years. Hundred and fifty cases with a history of chronic tobacco use for a minimum period of 5 years were evaluated. Visual inspection using acetic acid was done. Oral scrapes were taken for cytological and morphometric analysis followed by incision biopsy for histopathological evaluation, wherever possible. Results: On morphometrical analysis, mean nuclear area and nuclear:cytoplasmic (N:C) ratio increased, while the cytoplasmic area decreased from smears with normal cytology to oral dysplasia to SCC. Analysis of variance and post hoc Tukey’s honest significant difference test showed a statistically significant difference among the 3 groups (p value <0.05). A cutoff value for a significant N:C ratio was calculated as ≥0.08 using Youden’s index with a sensitivity and a specificity of 88% and 94%, respectively. Conclusion: In high-risk cases, morphometry can be a useful adjunct to exfoliative cytology and visual examination for an early and accurate diagnosis and timely intervention in oral potentially malignant and malignant lesions, thereby improving the prognosis.

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