Treatment of cancer of the base of the tongue and glosso-epiglottic region: A multicenter Italian survey

Cesare Grandi, Marco Guzzo, Raffaele Cavina, Gianstefano Gardani, Silvia Tana, Lisa Licitra, Nicoletta Rossi, Carmelo Barbaccia, Massimo Mingardo, Davud Fallahdar, Paolo Bruno, Roberto Molinari, L. Barzan, D. Politi, P. Olmi, C. Fallai, P. Gabriele, L. Bussi, G. Cortesina, G. SuccoG. Sartoris, L. Armaroli, G. Ausili-Cefaro, G. Gelosa, M. Grandini, S. Singarelli, P. Fracchia, R. Roselli, G. Spriano, D. Cosentino, R. Spinelli, F. Pia, R. Dosdegani, M. Squadrelli, E. Sarti, B. Bonetti, F. Bertoni, C. Oldini, G. Malusardi, B. Morrica, G. Rampello, F. Zibordi, F. Banci, M. Maronchelli, R. Molinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The current treatment options for cancer of the base of the tongue and glosso-epiglottic region are surgery, radiotherapy, or a combination of both modalities. Comparisons between different modalities are not common in the literature, and a real standard of treatment has not yet been established. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the results of treatment in a large series of patients from 18 Italian institutions in relation to the main treatment adopted. Methods: The present study is a retrospective survey. The series was divided into a combined surgery group and a radiotherapy group. The Kaplan-Meier method and the log-rank test were used for survival calculations and comparisons. Results: Eight hundred patients were registered (25.7% stage III and 62% stage IV), 336 in the surgery and 372 in the radiotherapy group. Conventional fractionation was adopted in almost all cases. The five-year overall and disease free survival of the whole series was 32% and 38%, respectively. Survival was slightly better for patients with tumors of the glosso-epiglottic region than for those with a tumor of the base of the tongue. Five-year disease-free survival was 55% for patients treated with surgery +/- radiochemotherapy and 26% for those submitted to radiotherapy alone or in combination with chemotherapy. As far as the total dose and the treatment duration were concerned, only 26% of the patients of the radiotherapy group met the established criteria of adequacy, but in patients with adequate radiation the control rate was better only for small tumors (T1-T2). Conclusions: The results in patients treated with surgery +/- postoperative radiotherapy were similar to or better than those reported in the best series in the literature. By contrast, the survival rate of irradiated patients was lower than those reported by other centers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2000


  • Base of the tongue
  • Cancer
  • Glosso-epiglottic region
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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