Is laryngopharyngeal reflux an important risk factor in the development of laryngeal carcinoma?

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2006 Apr;263(4):339-43. doi: 10.1007/s00405-005-1003-5. Epub 2005 Oct 27.


Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) as a causative irritating factor in the development of laryngeal carcinoma has been suggested. However, the association between LPR and laryngeal carcinoma remains unclear. The aim of this study was to compare the prevalence and severity of reflux between patients with laryngeal carcinoma and clinical LPR. The intention was to find out if a correlation exists between the laryngeal findings and the level of acid reflux. The study population consisted of 29 patients with laryngeal cancer (group I), 33 LPR patients with normal laryngeal findings (group II) and 70 LPR patients with related laryngeal pathology (group III). The results of 24-h, double-channel ambulatory esophageal pH monitoring were analyzed comparing the three groups. The occurrence and severity of abnormal acid reflux at the upper and lower esophageal segments were evaluated. The incidence of LPR or gastroesophageal reflux (GER) did not vary in any of the three groups (LPR was present in 62, 42 and 56% of the patients, while GER was present in 45, 24 and 37% of the patients, respectively). Patients with LPR or GER from the three groups did not differ significantly in terms of the number of acid reflux episodes and percentage of times when the pH was <4. Our data do not support the hypothesis that LPR can be an independent risk factor in the development of larynx cancers. However, the data also do not thoroughly exclude the possibility. The reason why LPR leads to variable pathologies in the larynx may be uncovered by studies probing the differences between patients via detailed examinations of the local anti-reflux barriers such as epithelial morphology and functions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors