Squamous Cell Carcinoma as the Most Common Lesion of the Tongue in Iranians: a 22-Year Retrospective Study


Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


The tongue has been globally considered as an indicator of general health for millennia. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and distribution of tongue lesions in an Iranian population. In this retrospective study, data from 6,435 oral biopsy reports over a 22-year period (1992-2014) were retrieved from archives of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Department, Shahid Beheshti Dental School, Tehran, Iran. These reports were analyzed according to age, sex, type of lesion and location. Prevalence of tongue lesions were reported as percentages. Out of total oral lesions, 238 (3.7%) were found in the tongue, with the incidence peak (42%) being between 41-60 years. Men constituted 53% and women 47%of patients. The youngest patient was a 3-year-old girl with pyogenic granuloma and the oldest one was a 93-year-old man with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). SCC was the most common (25%) lesion generally found in the lateral border of the tongue with a male predilection. The second and third most prevalent lesions of the tongue were benign keratosis (frictional keratosis) (13.4%) and leukoplakia (13%).White-red lesions (38.6%) were the most frequent subgroup followed by neoplastic lesions (28%). Moreover, irritation fibroma, non-specific ulcers, squamous papilloma, and hemangioma were found as the most frequent lesions in their related subgroups.Given the high rate of SCC of the tongue in Iranian patients, this area should be examined more carefully by dental practitioners and physicians.