Purpose: To determine if pretreatment computed tomography (CT) can predict local control in T3 squamous cell carcinoma of the glottic larynx treated with definitive radiotherapy (RT).
Methods and materials: Forty-two patients with previously untreated T3 squamous cell carcinoma of the glottic larynx were treated for cure with RT alone; all had a minimum 2-year follow-up. Tumor volumes and extent were determined by consensus of two head and neck radiologists on pretreatment CT studies. A tumor score was calculated and assigned to each primary lesion depending on the extent of laryngeal spread. Sclerosis of any laryngeal cartilage was recorded. The specific CT parameters assessed were correlated with local control.
Results: Tumor volume was a significant predictor of local control. For tumors measuring < 3.5 cm3, local control was achieved in 22 of 26 patients (85%), whereas for tumors > or = 3.5 cm3, local control was achieved in 4 of 16 patients (25%) (p = 0.0002). Sensitivity and specificity using this cutpoint were 85% and 75%, respectively. Tumor score as a measure of anatomic extent was also found to be a significant predictor of local control. The local control rate for tumors assigned a low tumor score (< or = 5) was 78% (21 of 27) compared to 33% (5 of 15) for tumors assigned a high tumor score (6, 7, or 8) (p = 0.008). A significant decrease in the local control rate was observed for cancers involving the paraglottic space at the false vocal cord level (14 of 16 [88%] vs. 12/26 [46%]) (p = 0.010), cancers involving the face of the arytenoid (15 of 18 [83%] vs. 11 of 24 [46%]) (p = 0.024), and tumors involving the interarytenoid region (25 of 36 [69%] vs. 1 of 6 [17%]; p = 0.020). There were 12 patients with sclerosis of both the ipsilateral arytenoid and the adjacent cricoid cartilage. These patients showed a significant decrease in local control (4 of 12 [33%]).
Conclusion: Pretreatment CT can stratify patients with T3 glottic carcinoma into groups more or less likely to be locally controlled with definitive RT. The local control rate for these tumors can be improved using a CT-based tumor profile; the ideal CT profile for a radiocurable T3 glottic larynx carcinoma is volume < 3.5 cm3 and no or single laryngeal cartilage sclerosis.