An alternative treatment in patients with advanced laryngeal carcinoma who are candidates for total laryngectomy is induction chemotherapy and radical radiotherapy in an organ preservation approach. We conducted a study to evaluate results of this treatment in patients with locally advanced laryngeal carcinoma, candidates for total laryngectomy, who were treated at a single institution between 1985 and 1997. During the study period, 224 began treatment with induction chemotherapy. Induction chemotherapy consisted of three cycles of cisplatin and 5-fluoruracil in the majority of cases. Four patients died as a consequence of complications associated with chemotherapy treatment. Subsequent treatment consisted of total laryngectomy in 79 patients and radical radiotherapy in 141. After radical radiotherapy, local control for patients who achieved a complete response after induction chemotherapy was 74%, significantly better than 57% in patients with a non-complete response (P=0.04). Considering the initial group of 224 patients, the frequency of organ preservation was 39%. Considering only the patients treated with induction chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the organ preservation frequency was 62%. In a multivariate study, only the response after induction chemotherapy was significantly related to organ preservation.