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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Jul;265(7):797-801. Epub 2007 Dec 4.

Hyperplastic epithelial lesions of the vocal folds: combined use of exfoliative cytology and laryngostroboscopy in differential diagnosis.

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  • 1Department of Phoniatrics, ENT University Hospital, Medical University Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 26-28, 8036, Graz, Austria.


The mainstay of successful tumor therapy is early detection of neoplastic tissue. Although exfoliative cytology has proven to be a reliable tool, its importance is still underestimated. Laryngostroboscopy is the most important tool for functional investigation in laryngological and phoniatric diagnosis. Stroboscopic evaluation allows early detection of infiltrative processes of the vocal folds. Aim of our study was to demonstrate that combination of both, exfoliative cytology and stroboscopy, provides a highly sensitive and easy to perform method in differential diagnosis of epithelial hyperplastic lesions of the vocal folds. In 130 patients with varying degrees of vocal fold keratosis up to glottic cancer, preoperative layngostroboscopy was performed. Stroboscopy was classified pathological in case of reduced or abolished amplitude of vocal fold vibration and/or reduced or abolished mucosal wave propagation. Under general anaesthesia histology with corresponding cytological specimens were obtained. The latter were classified in three groups reaching from normal (I), dysplastic (II), up to malignant (III) cytology. Invasive carcinoma was diagnosed in 32 cases by histology, corresponding malignant cytology was found in 21 specimens (sensitivity: 74%). By certain combination of cytology with pathological stroboscopy, a sensitivity of more than 97% can be achieved. Combination of cytology and stroboscopy allows detection of glottic cancer with a sensitivity of 97%, in contrast to 74% as found by cytology alone. This combination can be used as preliminary or sorting procedure and gives the opportunity of early detection, as well as for follow-up examinations. For repeated biopsies can cause scars with consecutive voice impairment, this procedure is very smooth but nevertheless reliable method.

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