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The effect of monosodium glutamate on the risk of oral cancer: a systematic review


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Introduction: Oral cancer is a malignancy, and most cases are diagnosed as oral squamous cell carcinoma. Oral cancer has a multifactorial etiology, one of which is the pattern of food intake. Monosodium glutamate has been widely used by the public as a flavor enhancer. Until now, the safety of MSG has been debated because several studies state that MSG can have both negative and positive effects, so its effect on the risk of developing oral cancer is still unclear. The aim of this study was to find out the effect of MSG on the risk of oral cancer.

Methods: An article search was performed through the Pubmed, ScienceDirect, EBSCOhost, Nature, Scopus, ResearchGate, and Semantic Scholar databases using predefined keywords, inclusion and exclusion criteria, and adapted to the PICO framework. Article writing refers to the PRISMA guidelines.

Results: A total of five selected articles were obtained. Three in vivo study articles describe the effect of MSG, which can cause genotoxicity, a decrease in the quality and quantity of DNA, and changes in the histological structure of the oral mucosa of experimental animals. One case-control study article explained that MSG had the potential to triple the risk of oral cancer, while one cohort study article described the effect of MSG in suppressing post-chemotherapy side effects in head and neck cancer patients.

Conclusion: MSG has the potential to increase the risk of oral cancer because it tends to be more of a carcinogen. It because MSG can induced and increased oxidative stress, which triggers genotoxicity in oral mucosa cells.


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How to Cite

Intan Suwandi, S. N., Anggraini, J. A., & Widyaputra, S. (2023). The effect of monosodium glutamate on the risk of oral cancer: a systematic review. Bali Medical Journal, 12(3), 2500–2512.




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Siti Nabillah Intan Suwandi
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Jamas Ari Anggraini
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Sunardhi Widyaputra
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