• hypopharyngeal carcinoma;
  • radiotherapy;
  • surgery;
  • survival

Objective:  To analyse different treatment strategies and treatment results of hypopharyngeal carcinoma in the Netherlands.

Design:  Retrospective study.

Setting:  Eight head and neck centres in the Netherlands.

Participants:  A total of 893 patients were treated between 1985 and 1994. Patients were mostly treated with radiotherapy alone, combined surgery and radiotherapy and surgery alone.

Results:  The 5-year survival for the whole group was 26%. The 5-year survival for patients treated with curative intention was 32% and treated with palliative intention was 5%. The 5-year disease-free survival after radiotherapy alone was 37%, after surgery alone 41% and after combined therapy 47%. The role of chemotherapy could not be investigated because of a small number of patients treated with chemotherapy in this period.

Conclusion:  Combined therapy with surgery and radiotherapy has a better survival for patients with a hypopharyngeal carcinoma in comparison with radiotherapy alone. The N-stage is more important for the prognosis than the T-stage.