Chondrosarcoma of the larynx: a clinicopathologic study of 111 cases with a review of the literature

Am J Surg Pathol. 2002 Jul;26(7):836-51. doi: 10.1097/00000478-200207000-00002.


Chondrosarcomas of the larynx are rare tumors accounting for about 0.5% of all laryngeal primary tumors. A total of 111 laryngeal chondrosarcoma cases, diagnosed between 1970 and 1997, were retrieved from the Otorhinolaryngic-Head & Neck Tumor Registry of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. There was a 3.6:1 male/female ratio of patients 25-91 years of age (mean, 64.4 years). Patients presented most frequently with hoarseness (n = 72 patients) present for a mean of 28.2 months. The majority of tumors involved the cricoid cartilage (n = 77) with a mean size of 3.5 cm. All tumors were invasive and malignant by radiology and/or histology (into bone within the ossified laryngeal cartilages in 52 tumors). Most tumors were low-grade lesions: grade 1 (n = 51), grade 2 (n = 54); there were six grade 3 tumors. An associated benign chondroma with (n = 41 tumors) or without ischemia (n = 24 tumors) was noted. All patients had surgery and five had radiation therapy. Wide excision or voice-sparing surgery was used in 73 patients, whereas 37 patients had a laryngectomy. Recurrences occurred in 20 (18%) patients, 10 of whom underwent salvage laryngectomy. At the last follow-up, 102 patients had no evidence of disease (alive or dead, mean 11.2 years) and five patients had evidence of disease (alive, one patient, 6.5 years; dead, four patients, mean 6.4 years). The six patients with high-grade chondrosarcoma were all without disease at the last follow-up (mean, 15.1 years). There was no difference in clinical outcome based on grade (p = 0.210), location (p = 0.078), or treatment (p = 0.607) but was worse for patients with a myxoid-type chondrosarcoma (p = 0.044). Primary laryngeal chondrosarcomas are typically low- to moderate-grade lesions involving the cricoid cartilage, frequently associated with a chondroma. They usually portend an excellent overall long-term prognosis with initial conservative voice-sparing surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chondrosarcoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Chondrosarcoma / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography