Purpose: To determine the rates of organ preservation and function in patients with advanced laryngeal and hypopharyngeal carcinomas treated with concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CRT).
Methods and materials: Between April 1999 and September 2005, 82 patients with advanced laryngeal (67%) and hypopharyngeal carcinomas (33%) underwent conventional radiotherapy and concurrent platinum-based chemotherapy with curative intent. Sixty-two patients were male (75.6%). The median age was 59 years. Eighteen patients (22%) were in Stage III and 64 (78%) were in Stage IV. The median radiation dose was 70 Gy. The median potential follow-up was 3.9 years.
Results: Overall survival and disease-free survival were respectively 63% and 73% at 3 years. Complete response rate from CRT was 75%. Nineteen patients (23%) experienced significant long-term toxicity after CRT: 6 (7.3%) required a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, 5 (6%) had persistent Grade 2 or 3 dysphagia, 2 (2.4%) had pharyngoesophageal stenosis requiring multiple dilations, 2 (2.4%) had chronic lung aspiration, and 7 (8.5%) required a permanent tracheostomy. Four patients (4.9%) underwent laryngectomy without pathologic evidence of disease. At last follow-up, 5 (6%) patients were still dependent on a gastrostomy. Overall, 42 patients (52%) were alive, in complete response, with a functional larynx and no other major complications.
Conclusions: In our institution, CRT for advanced hypopharyngeal and laryngeal carcinoma has provided good overall survival and locoregional control in the majority of patients, but a significant proportion did not benefit from this approach because of either locoregional failure or late complications. Better organ preservation approaches are necessary to improve locoregional control and to reduce long-term toxicities.
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