The purpose of this study is to see how the brain re-learns to control the tongue in
speaking and swallowing when either portions of the tongue have been removed, or when the
tongue has been treated with radiation, in order to treat cancer. We hope the results of
this study will help us to improve healing for patients who are being treated for cancer of
When patients with cancer of the tongue are treated by removing parts of the tongue
(surgery) or by destroying the cancer with radiation to the tongue, they have significant
difficulty speaking and swallowing after such treatments. At this time, patients who have
been treated for cancer of the tongue re-learn speaking and swallowing through exercises
taught by a speech pathologist.
What is needed is information on how the brain re-learns to control speaking and swallowing
so that we can help these patients re-learn faster after their treatments.
The purpose of this investigation is to determine cortical mechanisms of adaptation to
surgical or radiation treatment to the tongue. This study will use a non-invasive imaging
technique, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), to investigate cortical responses
to partial glossectomy or radiation therapy for treatment of a tongue malignancy. Patients
with Stage I-IV (AJCC) malignancies of the tongue who are treated with surgery and or
radiation therapy will be imaged using fMRI pre-operatively and at approximately six months
Patterns of brain activity from the fMRI studies will be compared with matched healthy
control subjects. The results of this investigation will provide needed information on both
central and peripheral mechanisms of adaptation.
Inclusion criteria for the tongue carcinoma patients:
- Primary malignancy of the oral or base of tongue, Stage I-IV of AJCC staging system,
planned for surgical or radiation therapy.
Inclusion criteria for the healthy subjects:
- Healthy adult subjects between the ages of 21-75 years.
Exclusion criteria for the tongue carcinoma patients include the following:
- History of significant psychiatric condition (e.g. schizophrenia,
obsessive-compulsive disorder, significant dementia),
- History of the following neurological conditions: CVA, seizure disorders,
demyelinating conditions, systemic neuromuscular disorders, cerebral palsy,
- History of previous moderate to severe traumatic brain injury.
- History of significant cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal or renal disease
(e.g.myocardial infarction within the previous 12 months, significant vaso-occlusive
disease,severe or advanced asthma, COPD, emphysema, gastroesophageal reflux disease,
or renal compromise)
- History of achalasia
- History of other neoplasms involving the brain, head and neck, or gastrointestinal
- History of dysphagia, odynophagia, or aphasia unrelated to present illness.
- History of significant claustrophobic reactions.
- Standard contraindications to MR examinations (e.g. implanted stimulators).
Exclusion criteria for the healthy subjects includes the all of the conditions listed for
- Carcinoma patients and additionally includes history of significant surgery or
previous radiation therapy to the head and neck
- Previous history of dysphagia, odynophagia, aphasia, pregnancy,and standard
contraindications to MR examinations.