Radiotherapy in the management of glottic squamous cell carcinoma

Head Neck. 2020 Dec;42(12):3558-3567. doi: 10.1002/hed.26419. Epub 2020 Sep 8.


Introduction: Our purpose is to review the role radiotherapy (RT) in the treatment of glottic squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

Methods: A concise review of the pertinent literature.

Results: RT cure rates are Tis- T1N0, 90% to 95%; T2N0, 70% to 80%; low-volume T3-T4a, 65% to 70%. Concomitant cisplatin is given for T3-T4a SCCs. Severe complications occur in 1% to 2% for Tis-T2N0 and 10% for T3-T4a SCCs. Patients with high-volume T3-T4 SCCs undergo total laryngectomy, neck dissection, and postoperative RT. Those with positive margins and/or extranodal extension receive concomitant cisplatin. The likelihood of local-regional control at 5 years is 85% to 90%. Severe complications occur in 5% to 10%.

Conclusions: RT is a good treatment option for patients with Tis-T2N0 and low-volume T3-T4a glottic SCCs. Patients with higher volume T3-T4 cancers are best treated with surgery and postoperative RT.

Keywords: extranodal extension; glottis; head and neck; radiotherapy; squamous cell carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / radiotherapy
  • Glottis / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms*
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Laryngectomy
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies