Age and risk of recurrence in oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma: Systematic review

Nicholas R. Lenze, Douglas R. Farquhar, Christina Dorismond, Siddharth Sheth, Jose P. Zevallos, Jeffrey Blumberg, Catherine Lumley, Samip Patel, Trevor Hackman, Mark C. Weissler, Wendell G. Yarbrough, Andrew F. Olshan, Adam M. Zanation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The incidence of oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma has been increasing in young patients (≤45 years) without a clear etiologic driver. It is unknown if younger patients have an increased risk of recurrence compared to older patients. A literature search was conducted through January 2020 using PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane, Scopus, Science Direct, and This review was registered with PROSPERO (ID: CRD42020167498) and the PRISMA statement was followed. Studies were eligible for inclusion if they assessed risk of recurrence by age using a time-to-event analysis, used an age cutoff of ≤45 years or less for the younger cohort, and limited the analysis to the oral tongue subsite. Data were extracted independently by two reviewers using a form with a prespecified list of variables. There were 13 articles that met criteria for the qualitative synthesis (n = 1763 patients). The reported 5-year rates of disease-free survival ranged from 30% to 72% for the younger cohorts and 42% to 81% for the older cohorts. Three studies reported a statistically significant increased risk of recurrence in younger patients, three studies reported a nonsignificant increased risk in younger patients, and seven studies reported a similar risk in younger patients based on the time-to-event analyses. There may be an increased risk of recurrence for younger patients with oral tongue cancer. A definitive conclusion is precluded by limitations among individual studies, and additional research is warranted to examine this question.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3755-3768
Number of pages14
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • age
  • disease-free survival
  • mouth neoplasms
  • oral cancer
  • recurrence


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