Early glottic cancer in a veteran population: Impact of race on management and outcomes

Laryngoscope. 2020 Jul;130(7):1733-1739. doi: 10.1002/lary.28262. Epub 2019 Aug 28.


Objectives: Multiple population studies have shown racial discrepancies in head and neck cancer treatment and outcomes. We sought to characterize the impact of race on clinical outcomes for patients with early glottic squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in a tertiary institution which provides equivalent access to care.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all early glottic (T1-T2) squamous cell carcinoma at a single institution, the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans' Administration Medical Center (MEDVAMC). Data collected included demographic information, primary and adjuvant treatment modalities, time to diagnosis, time to treatment, recurrences, recurrence treatment modality, secondary malignancies, recurrence-free survival (RFS), and overall survival (OS).

Results: One hundred seventeen patients with a primary diagnosis of T1-T2 glottic squamous cell carcinoma were included. Black and white patients demonstrated equivalent rates of recurrence, RFS, and OS. There was no significant difference in treatment delivery by race for all recorded parameters. T1b tumors were associated with an increased risk of recurrence which did not translate into a statistically significant decrease in RFS or OS. Surgical treatment was associated with increased recurrence but similar RFS and OS compared to radiation-based treatment. Secondary malignancies were common; 12% of patients were diagnosed with a second primary lung cancer during the study period.

Conclusion: At our institution, race did not impact survival when access to care, treatment selection, and delivery are equivalent for early glottic SCC. Secondary lung cancer is a critical risk factor for mortality in this patient group and requires long-term surveillance and monitoring.

Level of evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 130:1733-1739, 2020.

Keywords: Glottic cancer; Veteran; radiation; smoking.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Disease Management*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Glottis
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Neoplasm Staging*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*