Are the outcomes of patients treated for oral cancer different if the patient has never had exposure to tobacco?
Background: Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the upper aerodigestive tract has long been considered a smoker’s disease. Epstein Barr virus is associated with squamous cancer of the nasopharynx and clearly has biologic differences. More recently, the human papillomavirus has been associated with yet another head and neck cancer that appears similar, but behaves differently. Head and neck oncologists continue to investigate the potential that yet another clinical subgroup exists in the world of squamous cell carcinoma.
Explore this issue:August 2015
Study design: A retrospective study evaluated 120 patients with oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma using the records at the university medical center. To be considered a “never smoker,” the patient had to have consumed fewer than 100 cigarettes lifetime. Other factors evaluated included tumor grade, depth of invasion, margin status, pattern of invasion, lymphovascular invasion, and perineural invasion. Recurrence and overall survival were calculated from the date of treatment. The never smokers had poor prognosis.
Setting: Academic medical center.