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In this study quantitative techniques have been applied to smears collected from the buccal mucosa and floor of the mouth. The results display an encouraging success rate for identifying premalignant and malignant lesions. 'Intrapatient' normal smears provide a satisfactory control for comparison with pathological smears. Early results indicate that quantitative cytology could be of great value for monitoring and follow-up of suspicious lesions and provide an excellent additional diagnostic test for detecting early oral malignancy.