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Lip and Oral Cavity Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information About Lip and Oral Cavity Cancer

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Patients with head and neck cancers have an increased chance of developing a second primary tumor of the upper aerodigestive tract.[6,7] A study has shown that daily treatment of these patients with moderate doses of isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid) for 1 year can significantly reduce the incidence of second tumors. No survival advantage has yet been demonstrated, however, in part due to recurrence and death from the primary malignancy. An additional trial has shown no benefit of retinyl palmitate or retinyl palmitate plus beta-carotene when compared to retinoic acid alone.[8][Level of evidence: 1iiDii]

The rate of curability of cancers of the lip and oral cavity varies depending on the stage and specific site. Most patients present with early cancers of the lip, which are highly curable by surgery or by radiation therapy with cure rates of 90% to 100%. Small cancers of the retromolar trigone, hard palate, and upper gingiva are highly curable by either radiation therapy or surgery with survival rates of as much as 100%. Local control rates of as much as 90% can be achieved with either radiation therapy or surgery in small cancers of the anterior tongue, the floor of the mouth, and buccal mucosa.[9]

Moderately advanced and advanced cancers of the lip also can be controlled effectively by surgery or radiation therapy or a combination of these. The choice of treatment is generally dictated by the anticipated functional and cosmetic results of the treatment. Moderately advanced lesions of the retromolar trigone without evidence of spread to cervical lymph nodes are usually curable and have shown local control rates of as much as 90%; such lesions of the hard palate, upper gingiva, and buccal mucosa have a local control rate of as much as 80%. In the absence of clinical evidence of spread to cervical lymph nodes, moderately advanced lesions of the floor of the mouth and anterior tongue are generally curable with survival rates of as much as 70% and 65%, respectively.[9,10]

References:

  1. Cummings CW, Fredrickson JM, Harker LA, et al.: Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. Saint Louis, Mo: Mosby-Year Book, Inc., 1998.
  2. Harrison LB, Sessions RB, Hong WK, eds.: Head and Neck Cancer: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, William & Wilkins, 2009.
  3. Wang CC, ed.: Radiation Therapy for Head and Neck Neoplasms. 3rd ed. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1997.
  4. Jones KR, Lodge-Rigal RD, Reddick RL, et al.: Prognostic factors in the recurrence of stage I and II squamous cell cancer of the oral cavity. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 118 (5): 483-5, 1992.
  5. Po Wing Yuen A, Lam KY, Lam LK, et al.: Prognostic factors of clinically stage I and II oral tongue carcinoma-A comparative study of stage, thickness, shape, growth pattern, invasive front malignancy grading, Martinez-Gimeno score, and pathologic features. Head Neck 24 (6): 513-20, 2002.
  6. Day GL, Blot WJ: Second primary tumors in patients with oral cancer. Cancer 70 (1): 14-9, 1992.
  7. van der Tol IG, de Visscher JG, Jovanovic A, et al.: Risk of second primary cancer following treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the lower lip. Oral Oncol 35 (6): 571-4, 1999.
  8. Papadimitrakopoulou VA, Lee JJ, William WN Jr, et al.: Randomized trial of 13-cis retinoic acid compared with retinyl palmitate with or without beta-carotene in oral premalignancy. J Clin Oncol 27 (4): 599-604, 2009.
  9. Wallner PE, Hanks GE, Kramer S, et al.: Patterns of Care Study. Analysis of outcome survey data-anterior two-thirds of tongue and floor of mouth. Am J Clin Oncol 9 (1): 50-7, 1986.
  10. Takagi M, Kayano T, Yamamoto H, et al.: Causes of oral tongue cancer treatment failures. Analysis of autopsy cases. Cancer 69 (5): 1081-7, 1992.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: September 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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