Impact of stage, management and recurrence on survival rates in laryngeal cancer

PLoS One. 2017 Jul 14;12(7):e0179371. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179371. eCollection 2017.


A retrospective, longitudinal study of 1,616 patients with primary laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) at a single center in Norway during 1983-2010 was undertaken to investigate overall survival, disease specific survival, disease-free survival, prognostic factors for overall survival, and impact of recurrence among all-stage laryngeal cancer patients over 15 years' follow-up. The prognostic impact of gender, age, smoking/alcohol, subsite, tumour, node and metastasis staging, period and modality of treatment were evaluated using Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazard analyses. The importance of recurrence on survival was assessed based on case fatality rates. Five-year overall survival was 56.8%, 64.0% and 38.8%, and disease-specific survival was 80.2%, 87% and 61.6%, respectively, for the entire cohort and for glottic and supraglottic LSCC. Old age, advanced-stage LSCC and supraglottic cancer were associated with lower overall survival. The risk of disease-specific death plateaued after five years and varied significantly by subsite. Multivariate analysis of glottic LSCC revealed that surgical treatment improved overall survival, whereas old age, alcohol, T3-T4 status, positive N-status and no treatment were associated with worse survival. In supraglottic LSCC, age, alcohol, and positive N-status had a significant impact on overall survival by multivariate analysis. Five-year overall survival and disease-specific survival among patients with recurrent disease were 34% and 52%, respectively. In conclusion, marked difference in overall survival between glottic and supraglottic LSCC underline the importance of subsite-specific survival analysis. T-status and primary surgical management is essential only for glottic LSCC, emphasizing the importance of correct disease classification. Inferior outcomes in supraglottic LSCC are associated with old age, positive N-status, and improved follow-up routines are necessary. Primary tumor control is essential since recurrence impairs survival considerably in all subsites. The potential benefit of a primary surgical approach towards T3 LSCC awaits further investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Glottis / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / mortality
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck

Grant support

The study received no external funding.