Advanced oral tongue cancer in a 22-year-old pregnant woman

Esther J. Cheung, Henry Wagner, John J. Botti, Fred Fedok, David Goldenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objectives: Oral squamous cell carcinoma generally occurs in older men and is associated mostly with tobacco and alcohol as the primary risk factors. The incidence of oral squamous cell carcinoma in younger patients has increased. We report a case of a young woman, 25 weeks pregnant, who presented with stage IV carcinoma of the oral tongue. Methods: The following is a case presentation and literature review. Results: The patient presented with T4 N3 M0 oral tongue cancer. A team consisting of a head and neck surgeon, a radiation oncologist, a medical oncologist, and a maternal-fetal medicine specialist was assembled. The patient initially refused surgery. Chemotherapy was initiated until 32 weeks' gestation. After an infant boy was delivered via cesarean section, the patient began concurrent irradiation and chemotherapy, which induced complete regression of the primary tongue neoplasm with a partial response of the neck nodes. The patient underwent bilateral neck dissection followed by hemiglossectomy for recurrence. Conclusions: Management of advanced oral carcinoma in pregnancy presents a unique set of challenges. Few studies have described chemotherapy and radiotherapy during pregnancy, and long-term results are needed. Care must be taken to balance appropriate and adequate treatment of disease and to ensure the safety of the patient and the fetus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-26
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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