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Buccal Cancer

Determining Your Prognosis

Your prognosis is a prediction of the outcome of your disease. What is the risk of succumbing to the cancer or the risk of its coming back? These are the big questions on most people’s minds after receiving a diagnosis of oral cancer. In general, doctors know there are several characteristics of the tumor that can tell you something about your chances of being cured.

The following aspects of the cancer may affect your prognosis.

Stage This is the most important factor that affects your chances of being cured.19Jan JC, Hsu WH, Liu SA, Wong YK, Poon CK, Jiang RS, Jan JS, Chen IF. Prognostic factors in patients with buccal squamous cell carcinoma: 10-year experience. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2011 Feb;69(2):396-404.
Spread to Lymph Nodes This goes along with stage, but even without other factors, if there is spread to lymph nodes in the neck, it’s a worse chance of cure, especially if there is evidence of growth of cancer outside of the lymph node.19Jan JC, Hsu WH, Liu SA, Wong YK, Poon CK, Jiang RS, Jan JS, Chen IF. Prognostic factors in patients with buccal squamous cell carcinoma: 10-year experience. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2011 Feb;69(2):396-404.
Tumor Margins The ability to completely remove the tumor can be a very important factor that will indicate whether you will be cured or not.19, Jan JC, Hsu WH, Liu SA, Wong YK, Poon CK, Jiang RS, Jan JS, Chen IF. Prognostic factors in patients with buccal squamous cell carcinoma: 10-year experience. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2011 Feb;69(2):396-404.20Pradhan SA, Rajpal RM. Marginal mandibulectomy in the management of squamous cancer of the oral cavity. Indian J Cancer. 1987;24;167-171.
Depth of Invasion How deep the tumor goes beyond the surface can impact the chance of cure.21, Pentenero M, Gandolfo S, Carrozzo M. Importance of tumor thickness and depth of invasion in nodal involvement and prognosis of oral squamous cell carcinoma: a review of the literature. Head Neck. 2005 Dec;27(12):1080-91.22, Maddox WA, Urist MM. Histopathological prognostic factors of certain primary oral cavity cancers. 1990 Dec;4(12):39-42; discussion 42, 45-6.23Urist MM, O'Brien CJ, Soong SJ, Visscher DW, Maddox WA. Squamous cell carcinoma of the buccal mucosa: analysis of prognostic factors. Am J Surg. 1987 Oct;154(4):411-4.
Spread into Local Structures Spread into large nerves, vessels, lymphatics, or even the skin of the cheek might make your prognosis worse.20, Pradhan SA, Rajpal RM. Marginal mandibulectomy in the management of squamous cancer of the oral cavity. Indian J Cancer. 1987;24;167-171.22Maddox WA, Urist MM. Histopathological prognostic factors of certain primary oral cavity cancers. 1990 Dec;4(12):39-42; discussion 42, 45-6.

It is very difficult to discuss prognosis without understanding all the details of your cancer, and this is a conversation you’re better off having in person with your doctor. To give you a percentage chance of cure is really difficult because cancer research looks at all sorts of different types of cancers and may include patients from long ago.

In general, for patients with cancer of the oral cavity, studies have shown the following17Edge SB, et al. The AJCC Cancer Staging Manual – Seventh Edition. American Joint Committee on Cancer 2010.:

Disease-Specific Survival at Five Years Overall Survival at Ten Years
Oral Cavity Cancer Oral Cavity Cancer
Stage I 72% 59%
Stage II 58% 47%
Stage III 45% 36%
Stage IV 32% 27%

The disease-specific survival is higher than the overall survival because the first one tries to control for patients that probably died from something other than the cancer.

References

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2 Ko YC, Huang YL, Lee CH, Chen MJ, Lin LM, Tsai CC. Betel quid chewing, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption related to oral cancer in Taiwan. Journal of oral pathology & medicine: official publication of the International Association of Oral Pathologists and the American Academy of Oral Pathology. Nov 1995;24(10):450-453.

3 Shugars DC, Patton LL. Detecting, diagnosing, and preventing oral cancer. The Nurse Practitioner. Jun 1997;22(6):105,109-110,113-105 passim.

4 Silverman Jr. S. Early diagnosis of oral cancer. Cancer. Oct 15 1988;62(8 Suppl):1796-1799.

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6 Neville BW, Day TA. Oral cancer and precancerous lesions. CA: A cancer journal for clinicians. Jul-Aug 2002;52(4):195-215.

7 Spiro RH, Thaler HT, Hicks WF, Kher UA, Huvos AH, Strong EW. The importance of clinical staging of minor salivary gland carcinoma. Am J Surg. 1991 Oct;162(4):330-6.

8 Morton DL, Wen DR, Foshag LJ, Essner R, Cochran A. Intraoperative lymphatic mapping and selective cervical lymphadenectomy for early-stage melanomas of the head and neck. J Clin Oncol. 1993;11:1751-6.

9 Civantos FJ, Zitsch RP, Schuller DE, Agrawal A, Smith RB, Nason R, Petruzelli G, Gourin CG, Wong RJ, Ferris RL, El Naggar A, Ridge JA, Paniello RC, Owzar K, McCall L, Chepeha DB, Yarbrough WG, Myers JN. Sentinel lymph node biopsy accurately stages the regional lymph nodes for T1-T2 oral squamous cell carcinomas: results of a prospective multi-institutional trial. J Clin Oncol. 2010 Mar 10;28(8):1395-400.

10 Koch WM, Choti MA, Civelek AC, Eisele DW, Saunders JR. Gamma probe-directed biopsy of the sentinel node in oral squamous cell carcinoma. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1998;124:455-9.

11 Shoaib T, Soutar DS, MacDonald DG, Camilleri IG, Dunaway DJ, Gray HW, McCurrach GM, Bessent RG, MacLeod TIF, Robertson AG. 2001. The accuracy of head and neck carcinoma sentinel lymph node biopsy in the clinically N0 neck. Cancer. 91:2077-2083.

12 Kademani D. Oral cancer. Mayo Clinic proceedings. Mayo Clinic. Jul 2007;82(7):878-887.

13 Funk GF, Karnell LH, Robinson RA, Zhen WK, Trask DK, Hoffman HT. Presentation, treatment, and outcome of oral cavity cancer: a National Cancer Data Base report. Head Neck. 2002 Feb;24(2):165-80.

14 Kraus FT, Perezmesa C. Verrucous carcinoma. Clinical and pathologic study of 105 cases involving oral cavity, larynx and genitalia. Cancer. Jan 1966;19(1):26-38.

15 Listl S, Jansen L, Stenzinger A, Freier K, Emrich K, et al. Survival of Patients with Oral Cavity Cancer in Germany. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(1):e53415.

16 Anneroth G, Batsakis J, Luna M. Review of the literature and a recommended system of malignancy grading in oral squamous cell carcinomas. Scand J Dent Res. 1987;95;229-249.

17 Edge SB, et al. The AJCC Cancer Staging Manual – Seventh Edition. American Joint Committee on Cancer 2010.

18 Referenced with permission from The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for Head and Neck Cancers V.2.2016. © National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc 2016. All rights reserved. Accessed November 9, 2016. To view the most recent and complete version of the guideline, go online to www.NCCN.org.

19 Jan JC, Hsu WH, Liu SA, Wong YK, Poon CK, Jiang RS, Jan JS, Chen IF. Prognostic factors in patients with buccal squamous cell carcinoma: 10-year experience. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2011 Feb;69(2):396-404.

20 Pradhan SA, Rajpal RM. Marginal mandibulectomy in the management of squamous cancer of the oral cavity. Indian J Cancer. 1987;24;167-171.

21 Pentenero M, Gandolfo S, Carrozzo M. Importance of tumor thickness and depth of invasion in nodal involvement and prognosis of oral squamous cell carcinoma: a review of the literature. Head Neck. 2005 Dec;27(12):1080-91.

22 Maddox WA, Urist MM. Histopathological prognostic factors of certain primary oral cavity cancers. 1990 Dec;4(12):39-42; discussion 42, 45-6.

23 Urist MM, O'Brien CJ, Soong SJ, Visscher DW, Maddox WA. Squamous cell carcinoma of the buccal mucosa: analysis of prognostic factors. Am J Surg. 1987 Oct;154(4):411-4.