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Laryngoscope. 2009 Nov;119(11):2124-34. doi: 10.1002/lary.20619.

A contemporary review of indications for primary surgical care of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21287, USA.


The success of organ preservation protocols in laryngeal cancer has led to an increase in the use of primary chemoradiation in both laryngeal and extralaryngeal sites, despite a paucity of randomized controlled clinical trial data comparing nonoperative treatment to the gold standard of surgery followed by postoperative radiation for adverse pathologic features for head and neck cancer, and an increasing recognition that the high surgical salvage rates enjoyed by laryngeal cancer patients do not translate to extralaryngeal sites. These data suggest that there is a need to apply more rigorous standards to the use of organ preservation strategies and offer an opportunity to review the role of primary surgery in head and neck cancer.

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