• Airway obstruction;
  • mitomycin C;
  • prevention;
  • side effects;
  • stenosis;
  • subglottis


Background/Objectives: Mitomycin C (MMC) is used in the prevention of upper airway stenosis. However, the efficacy of MMC is still debatable, and the potential complications of MMC use have been scarcely reported. We evaluated the efficacy and early complications of MMC in a wound model of the subglottis.

Study Design: A randomized animal study.

Methods: Sixty rabbits underwent a full-thickness injury to the posterior subglottis by diode laser. The animals were randomly assigned to three groups according to the different topical treatments of MMC 0.4 or 10 mg/mL or saline alone for 5 minutes. Animals were killed at 4 weeks, and gross and histologic findings were compared among different groups and 10 age-matched, nonwound, normal controls.

Results: Thirty-two of the 60 (53%) animals died mainly of acute airway obstruction by necrotic debris, sloughs on, or cartilage collapse of the unhealed posterior subglottis during early weeks after wounding, higher in the MMC-treated animals (67%) than in the wound controls (25%) (P = .007). This resulted from the significant delay of wound healing in the MMC-treated groups compared with the wound controls (P = .012). The degree of subglottic stenosis was comparable among different groups (P > .8), although collagen deposition was significantly lower in the MMC-treated groups compared with the untreated controls (P = .036).

Conclusions: There was a significant risk of acute airway obstruction from delayed wound healing in rabbits that received subglottic laser wounding and MMC treatment. This risk should be considered in the use of MMC in clinical practice.