Tongue cancers during pregnancy: Case reports and review of literature

Head Neck. 2013 Apr;35(4):E102-8. doi: 10.1002/hed.21924. Epub 2011 Oct 19.


Background: Due to its rarity, there is no standard treatment for tongue cancers that concur with pregnancy. Treatment depends on the stage of cancer, gestational age of the pregnancy, and the wish of the mother to maintain the pregnancy. The purpose of this study was to review the literature and to report 5 new cases.

Methods: Twelve cases of tongue cancer during pregnancy were already reported between 1987 and 2009. We report 5 new cases and first administration of concomitant radiochemotherapy for tongue cancer.

Results: Median age of the patients was 29 years, 65% of diagnoses were made after the first trimester of pregnancy. Different treatment modalities are used to treat tongue cancer during pregnancy.

Conclusion: We hypothesize that tongue cancer treatment adhering to standard protocols provides the best guarantee to cure the mother. Based on a growing experience and insight taking fetal safety into consideration, the available data suggest that standard treatment is a realistic option.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / therapy*
  • Tongue / pathology*
  • Tongue Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Tongue Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome