Squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity in nonsmoking women: A new and unusual complication of chemotherapy for recurrent ovarian cancer?

Timothy L. Cannon, Dominic W. Lai, David Hirsch, Mark Delacure, Andrea Downey, Alexander R. Kerr, Michael Bannan, Eleni Andreopoulou, Tamar Safra, Franco Muggia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. To describe occurrences of oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in patients who had received long-term pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) for ovarian cancer. Patients and Methods. In our cohort of patients on maintenance PLD for ovarian and related mullerian epithelial malignancies, we encountered two patients with invasive SCC of the oral cavity (one of them multifocal) and one with high-grade squamous dysplasia. Review of patients at our institution receiving PLD for recurrent ovarian cancer identified three additional patients. The duration of treatment, cumulative PLD dose, human papillomavirus (HPV) positivity, BRCA status, stage at diagnosis, outcome, and other characteristics are reviewed. Results. All five cases were nonsmokers with no known risk factors for HPV and four were negative for p16 expression. Four of the patients had known BRCA mutations whereas one tested negative. Cumulative doses of PLD were >1,600 mg/m2 given over 30 -132 months. Three had SCCs staged as T1N0 oral tongue, alveolar ridge (gingival), and multifocal oral mucosa; one had a T2N0 oral tongue; and one had dysplasia. After excision, two were given radiation but recurred shortly thereafter; the others remain well and have had no further exposure to cytotoxic drugs, including PLD. Conclusion. Awareness of this possible long-term complication during PLD treatment should enhance the likelihood of early detection of oral lesions in these patients. Decisions to continue maintenance PLD after complete response of the original cancer should perhaps consider the benefits of delaying ovarian cancer recurrence versus the possible risk for a secondary cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1541-1546
Number of pages6
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Head and neck secondary malignancies
  • Oral SCC as side effect
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin
  • Secondary malignancy


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