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Abstract

A group of 97 patients with clinical stage I and stage II squamous carcinoma of the oral tongue, treated by partial glossectomy alone, has been reviewed to define prognostic indicators. Sixty-seven patients were staged T1NO and 30 were T2NO. Disease recurred in 28 patients (27%) and the most common site of failure was the ipsilateral neck (21%). The incidence of initial recurrence did not vary significantly with patient age, sex, T-stage, or when tumor size was examined in other subdivisions. The presence of perineural invasion significantly increased recurrence rate (P = 0.003) and decreased survival (P = 0.002). Disease-free survival at 5 yr was 73% for patients with T1 tumors, and 62% for T2 tumors. This difference was not significant. In this low-risk patient population with early stage carcinoma of the oral tongue, partial glossectomy is adequate treatment in most cases. However, we recommend postoperative radiation therapy to the primary site and ipsilateral neck for patients with perineural invasion. No evidence could be found to support adjuvant local therapy or elective neck treatment in the remaining patients.