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J Clin Oncol. 2006 Feb 1;24(4):593-8. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

Single-cycle induction chemotherapy selects patients with advanced laryngeal cancer for combined chemoradiation: a new treatment paradigm.

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  • 1University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.



Primary chemoradiotherapy in patients with advanced laryngeal cancer can achieve high rates of organ preservation without sacrificing survival compared with radiation alone or conventional laryngectomy. Appropriate selection of patients for organ preservation approaches could enhance overall treatment outcome and quality of life. We conducted a phase II organ preservation trial for patients with stage III and IV larynx cancer to determine whether late salvage surgery rates could be decreased and survival improved by selecting patients for organ preservation based on response to a single cycle of induction chemotherapy.


The chemotherapy was cisplatin 100 mg/m2 on day 1 and fluorouracil 1,000 mg/m(2)/d for 5 days. Patients who achieved less than 50% response had immediate laryngectomy. Patients who achieved more than 50% response went on to concurrent chemoradiotherapy. Histologic complete responders after chemoradiotherapy received two more cycles of chemotherapy. Patients with residual disease after chemoradiotherapy had planned salvage surgery.


Of 97 eligible patients, 73 (75%) achieved more than 50% response and received chemoradiotherapy. A total of 29 patients (30%) had salvage surgery; 19 patients (20%) had early salvage surgery after the single cycle of induction chemotherapy, three patients (3%) had late salvage surgery after chemoradiotherapy, six patients (6%) eventually had salvage surgery for recurrence, and one patient had laryngectomy for chondroradionecrosis. The median follow-up time was 41.9 months. The overall survival rate at 3 years is 85%. The cause-specific survival rate was 87%. Larynx preservation was achieved in 69 patients (70%).


These results confirm excellent larynx preservation and improved overall survival rates compared with historical results.

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