• Vol. 39 No. 12, 897–903
  • 15 December 2010

Outcomes of Oral Tongue Cancer: Does Age Matter?



Introduction: This is a retrospective study aimed to analyse the outcomes of oral tongue cancer with emphasis on young people.

Materials and Methods: Patients treated radically between 1998 and 2006 were included and categorised according to treatment modalities (Group A: Surgery, Group B: Surgery and adjuvant therapy, Group C: Definitive radiotherapy) and age groups (≤ 40 and > 40 years). Overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS), locoregional relapse-free survival (LRS) and metastasis-free survival (MFS) were estimated using Kaplan-Meier method.

Results: There were 123 patients with 32%, 53% and 15% in Group A, B and C, respectively. Of these, 17 patients (14%) were ≤40 years with 6 (15%), 8 (12%) and 3 (16%) young oral tongues in Group A, B and C, respectively. Five-year OS and DFS were 69%/72%, 41%/47% and 16%/9.5% for Group A, B and C, respectively. Young patients had similar survival as the older population with 5-year OS of 83%, 75% and 33% in Group A, B and C, as compared to the older patients (66%, 36% and 13%, respectively).

Conclusion: Young oral tongue patients did not have worse outcomes.

Oral cancer (including oral cavity and oropharynx) is the eighth most common cancer worldwide with oral cavity cancer among the 3 most common malignancies in south central Asia. Oral cavity cancer, including oral tongue, is associated with a relatively high mortality rate particularly in the developing countries.

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