Outcome analysis for lip carcinoma

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995 Nov;113(5):589-96. doi: 10.1177/019459989511300510.


Carcinoma of the lip is a relatively common malignancy of the head and neck region, accounting for approximately one quarter of oral cavity cancers. Although this form of cancer is generally readily curable compared with malignancies at other head and neck sites, regional metastases, local recurrence, and even death from this disease may occasionally occur. A review of 1252 patients who were diagnosed with lip cancer from 1940 to 1987 was undertaken to identify and rank prognostic variables, clarify differential incidences of site predilection between male and female patients, and examine the correlation between tumor site and histopathologic diagnoses. Large tumor size, high tumor grade, the presence of adenopathy, a subsite other than the lower lip, and inadequate surgical margins were found to have a negative impact on determinate survival of patients with lip carcinoma. Twenty-one percent of lip cancers in female patients arose on the upper lip, whereas only 3% of lip cancers in male patients developed on the upper lip. Basal cell carcinomas comprised 13% of upper lip cancers and only less than 1% of lower lip cancers. Recurrence developed in 15.1% of the patients reviewed and was strongly associated with large tumor size and poor differentiation. Local recurrence was associated with a determinate survival of 78%, whereas patients having regional recurrences had a survival rate of 52%. These data support aggressive treatment of lip cancers greater than 3 cm in diameter, high-grade tumors, tumors associated with cervical lymphadenopathy, and upper lip and commissure tumors. Lip cancer in women seems to be slightly more aggressive than in men.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lip Neoplasms* / mortality
  • Lip Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Lip Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Survival Analysis