Objective: To determine whether pretreatment lymphocyte subpopulations correlate with tumor response to induction chemotherapy as part of an organ preservation treatment approach in patients with advanced laryngeal cancer.
Study design: A prospective clinical trial in patients with advanced laryngeal cancer was undertaken to determine whether the frequency of late salvage laryngectomy and overall survival could be improved using one cycle of neoadjuvant chemotherapy to select patients for organ preservation. Pretreatment peripheral blood lymphocyte subpopulations for CD3, CD4, CD8, NK, and B cells were correlated with tumor response to induction chemotherapy, larynx preservation, and survival, to determine whether immune parameters could be useful in patient selection.
Methods: The study setting was a tertiary referral academic health center. Studied were 53 patients with stage III (42%) or IV (57%) larynx cancer. Most patients had supraglottic cancers (73%) and positive clinical nodes (51%). Sixty-eight percent had greater than 50% tumor response after one cycle of induction chemotherapy and then received concurrent chemoradiation and two cycles of adjuvant chemotherapy. Lymphocyte subpopulations were measured in 39 patients. Mean follow-up was 23.3 months (range, 5-61 mo).
Results: A total of 18 (34%) patients underwent laryngectomy. Only 4 cases were late salvage resections (13-35 mo after treatment). Fourteen cases were planned surgery after initial chemotherapy. Of the lymphocyte subpopulations measured, CD8 levels were significantly lower in stage IV patients and tended to be lower in patients with successful organ preservation. However, no significant differences in lymphocyte subpopulations were found among responders and nonresponders to chemotherapy. Overall survival was 88%.
Conclusions: One cycle of neoadjuvant chemotherapy was effective in selecting patients for organ preservation. The regimen of definitive concurrent and adjuvant chemotherapy was associated with an unexpectedly high 2-year survival rate. Lymphocyte subsets were not significant predictors of responding patients or survival. Further study of other biological markers useful in selecting patients for organ preservation are needed.