Open Access Research article

Clinicopathological characteristics of oral squamous cell carcinoma in Northern Norway: a retrospective study

Oddveig G Rikardsen12, Inger-Heidi Bjerkli1, Lars Uhlin-Hansen23, Elin Hadler-Olsen23 and Sonja E Steigen23*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University Hospital of North Norway, Tromsø, Norway

2 Department of Medical Biology - Tumour Biology Research Group, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway

3 Diagnostic Clinic – Clinical Pathology, University Hospital of North Norway, Tromsø, Norway

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BMC Oral Health 2014, 14:103  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-14-103

Published: 18 August 2014

Abstract

Background

The main aim of the study was to evaluate if patients with oral squamous carcinomas in Northern Norway differ from patients in other countries with regard to clinicopathological characteristics and also study the influence of risk factors. Such a comparison is of demographical interest, and also important for the interpretation of result from studies on prognostic biomarkers.

Methods

We describe clinicopathological characteristics of 133 North Norwegian patients diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity in the period 1986–2002, and evaluate the significance of different risk factors.

Results

The cohort consisted of 69 men and 64 women, giving male/female ratio of 1.1. Forty-seven of the 133 patients (35%) died of the disease within 5 years from diagnosis. There was no significant difference between the genders concerning time to disease specific death, even though men both smoked and drank more alcohol than women. As expected, the strongest predictors for disease specific death were tumour size and the presence of regional lymph node metastasis. We also found that heavy smokers and drinkers presented with more advanced disease, more often localized to the floor of mouth compared to non-smoking and abstinent patients, who more often presented with tumours of the mobile tongue.

Conclusions

Our results correlate well with previously published clinicopathological data on comparable cohorts, which is important when considering the applicability of results from biomarker studies performed on this material compared to other cohorts, and vice versa.

Keywords:
Oral squamous cell carcinoma; Smoking; Alcohol; Primary site; Gender