Early glottic carcinoma treated by radiotherapy: defining a population for surgical salvage

Laryngoscope. 2013 Jan;123(1):171-6. doi: 10.1002/lary.23663. Epub 2012 Sep 24.


Objectives/hypothesis: Not all patients with early Glottis squamous cell carcinoma will be cured by radiotherapy. This is an audit of a single center's experience with those patients who fail by this approach.

Study design: This retrospective study was approved by the IRB (Institutional Review Board); eligibility criterion was patients treated between 1967 and December 2006, T(IS), T(1), T(2) N(0) SCC glottic carcinoma, with analysis occurring in 2009, and with a minimum follow-up of 2 years.

Methods: The eligibility criteria for this ethics-approved study was that all patients started a course of radiotherapy for early glottic laryngeal SCC. Data included in the Larynx Cancer database includes information from the Radiation Oncology Department notes, referral letters, and follow-up information. This is categorized into patient, disease, and treatment factors.

Results: Of 522 patients who commenced radiotherapy, local failure occurred in 105 patients; a salvage procedure was performed in 89, with surgery only in 83. For these 89 patients, the ultimate local control was 67%, with a larynx preservation procedure in 34%. Nodal failure occurred in 20 of the 522 patients (4%). There was a much higher failure rate in patients unfit for surgery (10/26-38%). Laryngectomy was the main salvage procedure in 55 patients.

Conclusions: Early recognition of local failure following radiotherapy for early glottic carcinoma may avoid laryngectomy as a salvage procedure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glottis / pathology*
  • Glottis / surgery
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Laryngectomy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Salvage Therapy / methods*
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Failure