We have reviewed 126 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the anterior tongue. Our experience suggests that carcinoma of the anterior tongue is a highly aggressive disease. It is no less aggressive and dangerous than carcinoma of the posterior tongue. The clinically negative neck is a problem. Many clinical stage I and II cancers are, in fact, stage III when analyzed by the pathologist. This difficulty in clinical staging results in a significant management problem when stage III carcinomas are treated as stage I and stage II disease. Management, if it is to cure, must be aggressive. An adequate, wide surgical resection will control early carcinoma of the anterior tongue. Advanced cancers of the anterior tongue, clinical stages III and IV, should be widely excised; the cervical lymph nodes on the side of the primary lesion must be treated by surgery and radiation therapy. Treatment of the opposite side of the neck is indicated based on a high rate of metastases to contralateral lymph nodes in this series. Those patients treated with irradiation who had recurrence did so predominantly at the primary site of disease. Patients treated surgically tended to have recurrence in the regional cervical lymphatics.
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