Painless, elevated whitish keratotic lesion of the tongue in a 20 year-old woman.
More than a third of all granular cell tumors occur on the lingual dorsum, usually as a sessile, painless, somewhat firm, immovable nodule less than 1.5 cm. in greatest diameter. Lesions often demonstrate a pallor or a yellowish discoloration and typically have a smooth surface. When it occurs on the lingual dorsum, the surface papillae are separated one from another but do not usually disappear.
Other oral and pharyngeal sites of involvement include the soft palate, uvula, labial mucosa, oral floor and gingiva. There is no gender predilection for oral cases, but overall almost twice as many cases are diagnosed in women as in men. The lesion is typically diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 60, but it can arise at any age. As many as 15% of patients will have granular cell tumors of multiple anatomic sites, with as many as 50 individual lesions in one patient.
Oral malignant granular cell tumor is rare but has been reported to grow rapidly, to become ulcerated and bosselated, and to achieve a size greater than 4-5 cm. by the time of diagnosis. It usually occurs in young adults.