Background: To assess the feasibility of tongue conservation treatment with induction chemotherapy (ICT), tongue conservation surgery, and risk-adapted postoperative adjuvant therapy in oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (OTSCC). Methods: Patients with newly diagnosed OTSCC cT2-4 N0-2 M0 were recruited. The ICT with a regimen of docetaxel, cisplatin, and oral tegafur/uracil (DCU) was administrated every 21 days. After the first cycle of ICT (DCU1), patients with a more than 30% decrease in the longest diameter of primary tumor underwent a second cycle of ICT (DCU2). Tongue conservation surgery was performed after ICT, and risk-adapted adjuvant therapy was organized based on pathological features. Results: From July 2011 to December 2015, a total of 23 patients were enrolled, 87% of whom were classified as stage III–IV. Clinical responders to DCU1 and DCU2 were determined in 90.5% (19/21) and 88.2% (15/17) of patients. Tongue conservation surgery was performed in 16 responders to ICT. Only one patient had a positive margin (6.3%), and a complete pathologic response was achieved in eight patients (50%). Only one patient developed local recurrence after a median follow-up of 58.6 months (range, 7.9–105.2). The 5-year overall survival (0% vs. 87.5%, P = 0.001) and disease-specific survival (0% vs. 93.3%, P = 0.000) were significantly different between the DCU1 nonresponders and responders. Conclusion: Tongue conservation treatment with ICT, followed by conservation surgery and risk-adapted adjuvant therapy, is feasible for patients with OTSCC who are good responders to ICT. However, the outcomes of nonresponders are dismal. Further study in a larger patient population is warranted.
- complete pathologic response
- induction chemotherapy
- Oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma
- risk-adapted adjuvant therapy
- tongue conservation surgery