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Br J Cancer. 2000 September; 83(5): 614–619.
Published online 2000 August 16. doi:  10.1054/bjoc.2000.1323
PMCID: PMC2363505

Prognostic factors in tongue cancer – relative importance of demographic, clinical and histopathological factors


The incidence of and mortality from squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the tongue have increased during the recent decades in the Western world. Much effort has been made to predict tumour behaviour, but we still lack specific prognostic indicators. The aim of our study was to evaluate the relative importance of the known demographic, clinical and histological factors in a homogeneous population-based group of patients with SCC of the mobile tongue. The demographic and clinical factors were reviewed retrospectively from primary and tertiary care patient files. Histological prognostic factors were determined from pre-treatment biopsies. The TNM stage was found to be the most important prognostic factor. In particular, local spread outside the tongue rather than spread to regional lymph nodes was related to poor prognosis. Several demographic and histopathological factors were closely related to TNM stage. When the cases were divided into stage I–II carcinomas and stage III–IV carcinomas, it appeared that the patient’s older age (> 65 years), a high malignancy score and an absence of overexpressed p53 protein were associated with a poorer prognosis in stage I–II carcinomas. Such cases may require more aggressive treatment. Among patients with stage III–IV carcinomas, heavy use of alcohol was significantly associated with a poor disease-specific survival time. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign

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