Introduction: The study sought to compare and contrast squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the anterior mobile tongue with SCC of the tongue base, with emphasis on clinical presentation, management and outcome.
Methods: This was a retrospective, comparative analysis of patients treated for SCC of the tongue over a 10-year period. Cox's regression model was used to assess the effect of tumour site on survival.
Results: The study included 142 patients, of whom 86 were treated for SCC of the anterior tongue and 56 for tongue base lesions. Patients with carcinoma of the anterior tongue tended to present with a visible lump or ulceration of the tongue, whereas the majority of patients with tongue base SCC presented with pain. Sixty per cent of anterior tongue lesions were early stage (I or II) at initial presentation as compared with 21 per cent of tongue base lesions.
Conclusion: Patients with anterior tongue lesions had a better prognosis, but this was not statistically significant when adjusted for stage.