Lymphomas take up about 14% of all head-neck malignancies, out of which 97% are non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL). The clinical courses, treatment responses, and prognoses of NHLs vary with different subtypes and anatomic sites. In the Chinese population (including the Taiwanese), head-neck NHLs are often seen with the tonsils, nasal cavity, nasal sinus, and the nasopharynx. However, oral NHLs are relatively rare. Delay of diagnosis is also often seen in clinical practice. Thus, we present 4 cases with delayed diagnosis of oral maxillofacial NHLs and discuss their clinical manifestations so as to draw a clue that can remind the doctors to take biopsies in time.Patient concerns:
Four cases, including 3 males and 1 female aged between 43 and 70 years old with oral lesions (ulcerations and/or masses) and accompanying cervical lymphadenopathies and/or skin erythemas presented to the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, China from January 2010 to January 2015.Diagnoses:
The diagnoses of non-Hodgkin lymphomas were made by pathology, including nasal type extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma, mycosis fungoides, subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma, and extranodal marginal B-cell lymphoma of mucosa-associated lymphatic tissue. Their clinical courses until confirmed diagnosis varied between 2 months and 1 year and the follow-up/survival time from diagnosis ranged between 2 and 24 months. None of the biopsies was taken at the patients’ initial medical consultations.Interventions:
Cyclophosphamide, hydroxydaunorubicin, vincristine and prednisone (CHOP) and Rituximab, CHOP (R-CHOP) regimens were given to 2 (Cases 1 and 4) and 1 patient (Case 3), respectively. One patient refused further treatment.Outcomes:
Two patients, including the one who refused treatment, died at 2-2.5 months from diagnosis. The other two patients survived until their last follow-ups at 13 and 24 months from diagnosis, respectively.Lessons:
Oral lesions with aggressive growth patterns, multiple lymphadenopathies, and comorbid systemic skin lesions, elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase and poor response to medical therapies should warn the doctors of the possibility of malignancy and the necessity of biopsy. Excisional biopsy without sacrificing organs or functions should be preserved for patients whose pathological diagnoses cannot be established through aspiration or punch biopsy.