Objectives: One third of recurrences after radiotherapy for early laryngeal cancer remain localized. Salvage conservation laryngeal surgery, with total laryngectomy held as reserve, is a surgical management option that is arguably underused. The aim of this review is to report the oncologic and functional results of salvage conservation laryngeal surgery, using the external or the endolaryngeal laser approach.
Study Design: Review article.
Methods: A computerized literature search of the Medline database from 1985 to 2005 was performed using the following search strategy: laryngeal neoplasm/AND salvage therapy/. Studies with a sample size less than 10 and an average follow-up of less than 24 months were excluded from analysis. The oncologic outcome, functional outcome, length of hospitalization, and the frequency of complications were recorded.
Results: The average reported local control rate for recurrent early glottic cancer after radiotherapy salvaged by using the external or the endolaryngeal laser approach is 77% and 65%, respectively. The average reported overall local control rate, including cases that subsequently required total laryngectomy, is 90% and 83%, respectively. The endolaryngeal approach when compared with the extralaryngeal approach does have the advantage of reduced complications, lesser requirement for tracheostomy and nasogastric feeding, and shortened hospitalization time.
Conclusions: Conservation laryngeal surgery is a safe and effective treatment for recurrent localized disease after radiotherapy for early stage glottic cancer. Local control may be achieved without the sacrifice of laryngeal function, and total laryngectomy may be held in reserve as the ultimate option for salvage without compromising ultimate survival significantly.