Salvage circular laryngopharyngectomy and radial forearm free flap for recurrent hypopharyngeal cancer

Laryngoscope. 2013 Apr;123(4):910-5. doi: 10.1002/lary.23781. Epub 2013 Mar 11.


Objectives/hypothesis: To evaluate surgical and long-term oncologic outcomes in a series of patients who underwent circular total laryngopharyngectomy with tubed radial forearm free flap as salvage surgery.

Study design: Retrospective study in two tertiary referral centers.

Methods: Twenty-one patients who underwent surgery between 2001 and 2010 were included in the study. All patients underwent surgery for recurrence of advanced hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma previously treated by chemoradiotherapy (CRT) or surgery followed by postoperative radiotherapy or CRT. Overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were determined by Kaplan-Meier analysis. The search for parameters that could influence long-term oncologic outcomes was carried out by univariate and multivariate analysis using log-rank test and Cox regression models.

Results: Median follow-up was 30 months. The 1, 2, and 5-year OS rates were 46%, 40%, and 16%, and the DFS rates were 42%, 30%, and 15%, respectively. Free flap failure (P [log rank] = .014 and P [Cox] = .016) and positive margins (P [log rank] = .001 and P [Cox] = .001) were found to have a significant negative impact on both OS and DFS in both univariate and multivariate analysis.

Conclusions: Salvage surgery remains the only curative option as treatment of recurrent hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma and should be offered to patients when possible. However, selection of patients eligible for this type of surgery and the choice of reconstructive procedure are crucial since long-term survival is clearly correlated with the presence of clear margins and the absence of free flap failure.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Female
  • Forearm / surgery
  • Humans
  • Hypopharyngeal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Hypopharyngeal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Hypopharyngeal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Laryngectomy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery*
  • Pharyngectomy / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Flaps*
  • Survival Analysis