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Anterior Vocal Commissure Invasion in Laryngeal Carcinoma Diagnosis


  • The authors received no grants or technical support and have no commercial interest in this article.


Background: Laryngeal carcinoma involving anterior vocal commissure (AVC) represents a great challenge for staging and treatment.

Objectives: To compare laryngoscopy and computed tomography (CT) scan efficiency in staging tumors extending to the AVC. We also analyzed the helicoidal axial CT scan accuracy in recognizing this larynx subregion invasion.

Material And Methods: Fifty-two glottic and supraglottic laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma patients with tumoral extension to the AVC were prospectively studied from August 2001 to August 2003 at the National Cancer Institute (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). All patients underwent videolaryngoscopic examination and direct laryngoscopy for lesion extension analysis and biopsy. After AVC helicoidal axial CT scan with sagittal and coronal 1.0 mm thick reconstruction, patients were submitted to surgical treatment. The same pathologist analyzed all surgical specimens.

Results: When compared with pathologic stage, clinical endoscopic classification was correct in 40.38% of cases (40% for T1, 29.41% for T2, 46.43% for T3, and 50% in T4). Helicoidal axial CT scan accuracy for AVC tumors was 75% (P = .0001), being more important for T2 (62.50%), T3 (73.91%), and T4 (88.24%) lesions. Identification of radiologic signs described as gross radiologic anterior commissure involvement (GRACI) increased radiologic image staging accuracy to over 96%.

Conclusions: Endoscopic evaluation understaged tumors in all clinical stages but really T1. Helicoidal axial CT scan reformatted to 1.0 mm thick played an important role in correctly staging more advanced AVC laryngeal tumors. Radiologic signs, here identified as GRACI, may be very helpful for tomographic staging and patient treatment.

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