Chemoradiation for patients with large-volume laryngeal cancers

Head Neck. 2012 Aug;34(8):1162-7. doi: 10.1002/hed.21888. Epub 2011 Nov 3.


Background: Patients with T4 laryngeal cancers, including those with large-volume (cartilage or tongue-base invasion) lesions, are often excluded from organ-preservation trials due to expectations of inferior outcome in terms of survival and function. We hypothesize that such patients indeed have acceptable survival and function when treated with organ-preservation strategies.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data of a cohort of patients with T4 laryngeal cancer was carried out. Follow-up ranged from 0.18 to 15.6 years. All T4 laryngeal cancer patients who were enrolled in the University of Chicago concomitant chemoradiotherapy protocols from 1994 to the present were reviewed. This study was composed of 80 newly diagnosed T4 laryngeal cancer patients. Efficacy of treatment was determined through evaluations of survival and function. Survival was evaluated via Kaplan-Meier methods. Swallowing function was evaluated by an oropharyngeal motility (OPM) study and swallowing scores were assigned. Higher scores reflected increasing swallowing dysfunction.

Results: Fifty-five of 80 patients (~69%) had documented large-volume tumor. Two- and 5-year overall survivals were 60.0% and 48.7%, respectively. Disease-specific 2- and 5-year survivals for the group were 80.1% and 71.3%, and 79.4 and 74.3%, respectively, for the 55 patients with large volume status. Progression-free survival rates were 52.6% and 47.6%. Forty-four of 65 patients (~68%) with OPM data had a Swallowing Performance Status Scale (SPSS) score of ≤5, indicating various degrees of swallowing abnormalities not requiring a gastrostomy tube. This is a functional-preservation rate of 67.7%.

Conclusions: Chemoradiation for patients with T4 laryngeal cancer appears to be an effective and reasonable option, particularly in light of the satisfactory survival and function-preservation rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chemoradiotherapy*
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Sparing Treatments
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated
  • Retrospective Studies