Introduction: It is the opinion of many surgeons that the biologic potential of cancer that develops in young people is different compared with older patients. Prior reports on small series of patients addressing this issue have inadequate statistical power to resolve the question.
Methods: By use of the techniques of meta-analysis, patients less than 40 years old who had undergone treatment of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the oral tongue were examined. Twenty-eight patients who were encountered in the Department of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and 94 patients were identified in the literature for a total of 122 patients <40 years old. A control group of 150 patients, aged 40 years and older treated for SCC of the oral tongue between 1982 and 1994 was identified.
Results: Three-year disease-free survival in the group of patients aged less than 40 was 53.3% compared with 3-year disease free survivorship of 55.0% in the older cohort of patients.
Conclusion: These data strongly suggest that the outcomes of treatment for SCC of the oral tongue in young patients are similar compared with patients older than 40 with similar extent of disease.