Mitomycin C and the endoscopic treatment of laryngotracheal stenosis: are two applications better than one?

Laryngoscope. 2009 Feb;119(2):272-83. doi: 10.1002/lary.20056.


Objectives/hypothesis: Endoscopic treatment of laryngotracheal stenosis by airway dilation, despite short-term improvement, is often associated with long-term relapse. Mitomycin-C (MMC) inhibits fibroblast proliferation and synthesis of extracellular matrix proteins, and thereby modulates wound healing and scarring. MMC application at the time of endoscopic dilation and laser surgery has been suggested to improve outcomes, but this has not been studied in a rigorous manner. This study examines the hypothesis that two topical applications of MMC given 3-6 weeks apart will result in decreased scarring/restenosis of the airway, when compared to a single topical application.

Study design: A randomized, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Methods: Twenty-six patients with laryngotracheal stenosis due to idiopathic subglottic stenosis, postintubation stenosis, or Wegener's granulomatosis entered a protocol to receive three endoscopic CO(2) laser and dilation procedures over a 3-month interval. At the first procedure, after radial CO(2) laser incision and airway dilation, all patients received topical application of MMC (0.5 mg/mL) to the airway lesion. One month later, a second endoscopic incision and dilation was performed and the patients were randomized to either a second application of mitomycin-C or to application of saline placebo. A third dilation procedure was performed 2 months later, without MMC application. Patients were followed for up to 5 years for relapse of airway stenosis with clinical symptoms sufficient to require a subsequent procedure.

Results: The relapse rates at 1, 3, and 5 years were 7%, 36%, and 69% for patients treated with two applications of MMC compared to 33%, 58%, and 70% for patients treated with one application of MMC. The median interval to relapse was 3.8 years in the two-application group, compared with 2.4 years in the one-application group.

Conclusions: This prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial suggests that, in the endoscopic management of laryngotracheal stenosis, two applications of MMC given 3-4 weeks apart after airway radial incision and dilation reduces the restenosis rate for 2 to 3 years after treatment when compared to a single application. However, restenosis and delayed symptom recurrence continues so that at 5 years the relapse rates are the same. Thus, MMC may postpone, but does not prevent, the recurrence of symptomatic stenosis in the majority of patients.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alkylating Agents / administration & dosage
  • Alkylating Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngoscopy / methods*
  • Laryngostenosis / therapy*
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitomycin / administration & dosage
  • Mitomycin / therapeutic use*
  • Placebos
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Tracheal Stenosis / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Alkylating Agents
  • Placebos
  • Mitomycin