Squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue associated with cinnamon gum use: A case report

William H. Westra, J. Scott McMurray, Joseph Califano, Paul W. Flint, Russel L. Corio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background. Cinnamon aldehydes found in cinnamon-flavored gums can incite mucosal alterations at points of contact with the oral mucosa. These alterations may include inflammation and epithelial proliferation, but as a rule, the changes are reversible and promptly resolve when gum-chewing activity is discontinued. Methods. The authors report a case of a 24-year- old woman who developed a squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue following persistent and prolonged exposure to cinnamon-flavored gum. Results. Several social, clinical, and histopathologic features point to the cinnamon-flavored chewing gum as a possible causal factor in the development of the patient's oral carcinoma. Conclusions. Prompt withdrawal of cinnamon products is encouraged in heavy gum chewers who develop cinnamon-related oral lesions. For those lesions which do not promptly resolve upon cinnamon withdrawal, diagnostic biopsy should be considered to exclude the possibility of a squamous cell carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-433
Number of pages4
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Chewing gum
  • Cinnamon
  • Contact stomatitis
  • Oral cavity
  • Plasma cell gingivitis
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Tongue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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