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Ultrasonography use for tongue cancer management: A scoping review.

BACKGROUND: Tongue cancer is associated with debilitating diseases and poor prognostic outcomes. The use of imaging techniques like ultrasonography to assist in the clinical management of affected patients is desirable, but its reliability remains debatable. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the importance of ultrasound use for the clinicopathological management of tongue cancer.

METHODS: A scoping review was carried out using specific search strategies in the following electronic databases: PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. Collected data included bibliographical information, study design, ultrasound equipment, the aim of the ultrasonography use, the timing of ultrasound use during oncological treatment (pre-, trans-, and/or post-operatively), and the advantages and disadvantages of the use of the ultrasound.

RESULTS: A total of 47 studies were included in this review after following the selection process. The majority of the studies investigated the use of ultrasound pre-operatively for the investigation of lymph node metastases or to determine the tumor thickness and depth of invasion. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of ultrasound to determine clinical lymph node metastases ranged from 47% to 87.2%, from 84.3% to 95.8%, and from 70% to 86.2%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity to determine the microscopic depth of invasion were 92.3% and from 70.6% to 82.1%, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Ultrasonography seems to be a reliable imaging technique for the investigation of important prognostic parameters for tongue cancer, including depth of invasion and lymph node metastases.

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