Distinct epidemiologic characteristics of oral tongue cancer patients

Ryan Li, Wayne M. Koch, Carole Fakhry, Christine G. Gourin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objectives. Oral tongue cancer may have a distinct epidemiological profile from other mucosal neoplasms of the oral cavity. We sought to further define the demographic characteristics associated with oral tongue cancer to determine if unique characteristics exist compared with other oral cavity cancers. Study Design. Cross-sectional analysis using cross-tabulations and multivariate regression modeling. Setting. The Maryland Health Service Cost Review Commission database. Subjects and Methods. Discharge data from a state database were queried to perform a cross-sectional analysis of oral cancer cases treated surgically from 1990 to 2009. Results. A total of 1688 oral cancer cases comprised the study population, with 719 (42.6%) of cases involving the oral tongue. Tongue cancer comprised 31.6% of oral cancers in black patients and 44.1% of oral cancer in white patients (P = .011). Racial disparities in oral tongue cancer were identified for age at diagnosis, with significantly fewer black patients younger than 40 years (3.8%) compared with whites (11.3%; P = .006). After controlling for all other variables, oral tongue cancer patients were significantly less likely to be older than 40 years (odds ratio [OR], 0.40; P\ .001), black (OR, 0.53; P = .001), have Medicare payor status (OR, 0.55; P = .002), and advanced comorbidity (OR, 0.22; P\.001), in contrast to other oral cancer subsites. Conclusion. The racial and socioeconomic qualities of oral tongue cancer patients differ significantly from other oral cancers. This younger, healthier subgroup of oral cancer patients demonstrates a distinct population at risk for cancer of the oral tongue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)792-796
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Head and neck neoplasms
  • Maryland health service cost review commission
  • Surgery
  • Tongue neoplasm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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