Six year review of malignant oral and maxillofacial neoplasms attended at Muhimbili National Hospital, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

  • K S Sohal, Dr. Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences
  • J R Moshy
Keywords: Malignant, Oral and maxillofacial tumours, Histopathological pattern, Demographic pattern


Background: Cancers of the head and neck constitute an important group of human malignancies. It is estimated that head and neck cancers constitute about 5–8% of all malignancies world-wide. These neoplasms affect speech and deglutition due to their location and might result in tooth mobility, expansion and destruction of adjacent structures.This study aimed at determining the types, prevalence and demographic distribution of malignant oral and maxillofacial tumours among patients treated at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH).

Methods: This was a retrospective study where by histological results of lesions that occurred in oral and maxillofacial region from 1st January 2008 to 31st December 2013 were analyzed. The lesions were grouped into carcinomas, lymphomas and sarcomas; histological diagnoses of the top ten lesions with higher frequency of occurrence were picked for analysis.

Results: Malignant orofacial lesions accounted for 37.8% of all lesions that were biopsied from oral and maxillofacial region. Males comprised 51.4% of the patients. Age distribution was 3 to 98 years, mean 50.86 ± 19.89 years. Lymphomas and sarcomas occurred mostly in the patients below 40 years of age, while carcinomas were predominant above age 40 years. Squamous cell carcinoma was the most common malignant lesion (62.2%) followed by Kaposi’s sarcoma (13.1%) and adenoid cystic carcinoma (7.4%).

Conclusion: Our analysis demonstrated 51 different types of malignant lesions in which squamous cell carcinomas were the most common. In general, carcinomas were prevalent group of malignant lesions, with its incidence increasing with advancement of age. The results provide a clue to the clinicians in establishing differential diagnosis hence aiding in correct identification and early diagnosis of orofacial cancer in Tanzania.

Author Biography

K S Sohal, Dr., Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery