Purpose: To assess the significance of sclerotic-appearing cricoid and arytenoid cartilage with computed tomography (CT) in patients with laryngeal carcinoma.
Materials and methods: CT scans obtained in 75 patients with laryngeal carcinoma were prospectively studied; laryngeal CT studies obtained in 50 patients without laryngeal carcinoma were retrospectively reviewed.
Results: Twenty-four of the 75 patients (32%) with laryngeal carcinoma had sclerotic cartilage. Evaluation of pathologic specimens obtained in 12 of these 24 patients showed 11 cases of sclerotic arytenoid cartilage and two cases of sclerotic cricoid cartilage. Tumor infiltration was demonstrated in six of these cases but not in the seven others. In 11 of the 12 cases with pathologic proof, however, tumor was adjacent to the perichondrium. In the 12 cases without pathologic proof, the proportion was similar. The positive predictive value of this sign for cartilaginous invasion was 46%.
Conclusion: Although it is not a reliable sign of cartilaginous invasion, sclerotic-appearing cricoid and arytenoid cartilage in patients with laryngeal carcinoma is predictive of the tumor to this cartilage.