[Actinomycosis of the tongue. Report of two cases and review of the literature]

Minerva Stomatol. 1998 Mar;47(3):95-101.
[Article in Italian]


Actinomycosis of the tongue is a rare form of infection whose initial clinical manifestation is a submucosal swelling that may mimic both benign and malignant neoplasias. Two cases are, presented and their clinical features and diagnostic criteria are discussed in the light of twelve cases drawn from the literature. Infection in the tongue is rare, though perhaps underestimated. It is generally located on the anterior two thirds laterally to the median sulcus, and presents as a moderately painful nodule set deep in the extrinsic and intrinsic muscles and poorly mobile on the adjacent planes. In a few weeks the lesion increases in size and painfulness with consequent loss of function in the absence of diagnosis and appropriate antibiotic management. Both our patients, in fact, presented with deep lesions and no apparent involvement of the mucosa, and were investigated by means of fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB). The aspirated material was used to prepare both routine smears and cell blocks embedded in paraffin. The pathological material provided by this combination of methods proved quantitatively and qualitatively sufficient for the definitive diagnosis of actinomycosis in both cases.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actinomycosis / diagnosis*
  • Actinomycosis / drug therapy
  • Actinomycosis / microbiology
  • Actinomycosis / pathology
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penicillins / therapeutic use
  • Tongue Diseases / drug therapy
  • Tongue Diseases / microbiology*
  • Tongue Diseases / pathology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Penicillins