The role of the T-N tract in advanced stage tongue cancer

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Background: We investigated the role of the soft tissue tract between the primary tumor and the neck lymph nodes, the “T-N tract,” in patients with tongue squamous cell carcinoma at an advanced stage. Methods: We performed a compartmental tongue surgery in 233 patients. Cumulative incidence of relapses and overall survival curves were compared by T-N tract involvement. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the independent role of T-N tract. Results: At 4 years of follow-up, patients with disease in the T-N tract experienced a significantly more distant recurrence (40%) than did patients without T-N tract involvement (22%; P =.02). Multivariate Cox models indicate a significant almost triple risk of distant metastases (hazard ratio [HR], 2.70; 95% CI, 1.01-7.19; P =.05) and double risk of death (HR, 2.09; 95%CI, 1.13-3.85; P =.02) in patients with “T-N tract involvement.”. Conclusions: Our data show that the T-N tract plays an important role in prognosis and survival in patients with tongue cancer.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHead and Neck
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • compartmental tongue surgery
  • lingual lymph nodes
  • oral cancer
  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • tongue cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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