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Characteristics of oral and paraoral malignant lymphoma: a population-based review of 361 cases.

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Department of Dentistry, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, Canada.



Lymphoma is the second most common neoplasm of the head and neck; almost 50% of all lymphomas occur in this region. Waldeyer's ring is the most common site of lymphomas involving the oral region. The purpose of this study was to review the characteristics of a large series of malignant lymphoma of the oral region.


Three hundred sixty-one consecutive cases of malignant lymphoma of the oral region were identified in the Tumor Registry between 1969 and 1998.


The 361 cases (200 males and 161 females) of malignant lymphoma of the oral region accounted for 3.5% of all oral malignancies. The mean age was 62.5 years and the most prevalent site of involvement was the tonsil (32.7%), followed by the parotid gland (16.1%). Sixty-five percent of the lesions were diagnosed as large-cell (38%) or small-cell (27%) lymphoma. One quarter of the patients died of the disease in a mean of 2.78 years after diagnosis. Of a total 26 patients who died from other causes, 12 died because of other cancers, including 7 (27%) with leukemia and 5 (19%) with oral carcinoma. The prognosis is based, at least partially, on the histologic grading (low, intermediate, or high) and the anatomic stage of the disease. Localized low-grade lymphomas have a more favorable prognosis compared with those that are disseminated and/or have high-grade cellular changes.


Lymphoma is the second most common malignant oral disease. Thorough head and neck and oral examination is necessary to identify lesions that may represent lymphoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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