The Effect of treatment on survival in patients with advanced laryngeal carcinoma


  • Presented at the 7th International Meeting of the American Head and Neck Society, San Francisco, California, U.S.A., July 21, 2008



Over the last 2 decades, survival from laryngeal cancer has decreased. We sought to identify factors associated with decreased survival in laryngeal cancer.


Patients diagnosed with laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma from 1985 to 2002 were retrospectively reviewed.


A total of 451 patients met study criteria. Five-year survival rates were 85% for stage I, 77% for stage II, 51% for stage III, and 35% for stage IV disease. Survival for patients with stage I–III disease was similar for patients treated operatively or nonoperatively (P = .4). However, patients with stage III disease treated nonoperatively had worse survival with radiation alone (XRT) compared to chemoradiation (CR) (P = .006). Patients with stage IV disease had significantly better survival with surgery (49%) than CR (21%) or XRT alone (14%) (P < .0001). Analysis by primary tumor stage demonstrated that survival for T1–T3 disease was independent of treatment modality (P = .2); however, for T4 patients, operative treatment was associated with significantly better survival (55%) than CR (25%) or XRT (0%) (P < .0001). Proportional hazards models confirmed significantly worse survival for stage IV, T4, N2 or N3 disease, and nonoperative treatment. For T4 disease, after controlling for nodal status, nonoperative treatment was the only significant predictor of worse survival.


Primary surgical treatment is associated with improved survival for patients with stage IV disease and specifically T4 primary tumors. These data suggest that the observed national decrease in survival from laryngeal cancer may be due to a shift toward nonoperative treatment in that subset of patients with advanced primary disease. Laryngoscope, 2009