Tobacco smoking history and presentation of oral squamous cell carcinoma

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2004 Sep;62(9):1055-8. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2004.03.010.


Purpose: The association between tobacco smoking and oral squamous cell carcinoma is well established. However, few studies have evaluated the smoking history based on a smoking versus never-smoking history or analyzed the relationship between smoking history and site and stage of presentation. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between smoking versus never-smoking history and the stage and site of presentation of oral squamous cell carcinoma.

Patients and methods: The design of this study was a retrospective review of all patients presented at the Legacy Emanuel Hospital Head and Neck Tumor Board in Portland, Oregon, with a biopsy-proven oral squamous cell carcinoma between 1998 and 2000. Data collected included age, gender, smoking history (smoker versus never smoker), pack-years of tobacco, site, and stage (T, N, and group stage) at presentation.

Results: A total of 67 patients were reviewed; 33% of patients were never smokers and 67% of patients had a history of smoking with an average of 49.4 pack-years. The floor of mouth and gingiva were the most commonly affected sites. There was a statistically significant difference between site of presentation and a history of smoking (P =.0007). The 2 sites that showed a significant association with smoking were posterolateral tongue and floor of mouth.

Conclusions: The findings of this study demonstrate that approximately one third of patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma will report that they have never smoked. There was a strong association between a history of smoking and carcinoma involving the posterolateral tongue and floor of mouth.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / etiology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Female
  • Gingival Neoplasms / etiology
  • Gingival Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Floor / pathology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Tongue Neoplasms / etiology
  • Tongue Neoplasms / pathology