Head and neck cancer in young people: a series of 52 SCCs of the oral tongue in patients aged 35 years or less

Acta Otolaryngol. 2009 Dec;129(12):1503-8. doi: 10.3109/00016480902798343.


Conclusion: Prognosis was very poor as soon as a local failure developed. Up-front treatment should be optimized to control this rare disease. We propose producing and reporting recommendations via a concerted oncologic physician referral network.

Objectives: Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in young people is rare and the literature is confusing. This study was carried out to assess the demographics, clinical features, and treatment outcome in a cohort of patients aged 35 years or less with SCC of the oral tongue (SCCOT).

Patients and methods: This was a multicenter retrospective study. Fifty-two patients treated between 1990 and 2000 were identified. Descriptive statistics were analyzed to assess demographic and tumor variables.

Results: The WHO performance status was excellent for all patients. Thirty-seven were classified as T1-T2 and 38 were N0. All of them except one were treated with curative intent. Treatment failures were observed in 25 patients (48%). Four patients could be successfully salvaged after SCCOT recurrence or progression. The disease-free survival (DFS) was 52% at 5 years. The 5-year overall survival (OS) rate was 64%. Factors that affected the OS were invasion of the floor (p=0.009), cross over of the midline (p=0.02), positive lymph nodes (p=0.02), and the lack of disease control (p=0.0001).

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Neoplasms, Squamous Cell / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tongue Neoplasms / mortality
  • Tongue Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Young Adult