In this retrospective study, we present a clinical review of our experience with tongue cancer in order to obtain valid criteria for therapeutic decision-making.
Materials and methods
Between 1980 and 2009, a total of 341 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue were treated at our Department. The average follow-up was 5.2 years. 309 patients received surgical treatment, which was combined in nearly 10% with neoadjuvant and in nearly 20% with postoperative radio(chemo)therapy. 32 patients were excluded from surgery and received primary radiation.
Local and regional failure occurred in 23.9% and 20.4%, leading to a total failure rate of 37.2% after an average duration of 1,6 years. N-Status, extracapsular spread and clear margins were identified as the dominant factors for survival, which was calculated with 54.5% after 5 years.
We recommend categorical bilateral neck dissection in order to reliably remove occult lymph node metastases. Adjuvant treatment modalities should be applied more frequently in controlled clinical trials and should generally be implemented in cases with unclear margins and lymphatic spread.
This study provides new treatment strategies for primary tumour disease and for tumour recurrence.