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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2001 Jan;124(1):58-67.

Organ preservation by transoral laser microsurgery in piriform sinus carcinoma.

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Departments of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Goettingen, Germany.



To determine the effectiveness of organ-preserving CO2 laser microsurgery for the treatment of piriform sinus carcinoma.


A retrospective review of 129 previously untreated patients undergoing CO2 laser microsurgery for the treatment of squamous cell carcinomas of the piriform sinus from 1981 to December 1996 was undertaken. The intention was complete tumor removal by preserving functionally important structures of the larynx. Distribution of tumors (Union Internationale Contre le Cancer/American Joint Committee on Cancer, 1992) was 24 cases with pT1, 74 with pT2, 17 with pT3, and 14 with pT4 disease. Node status was positive in 68% of patients. Seventy-five percent of patients had stage III or IV disease. Forty-two percent of the patients were treated solely with surgery, and 58% had surgery and postoperative radiotherapy. The median follow-up interval was 44 months.


Eighty-seven percent of patients were controlled locally. Neck recurrences occurred in 14.0% of patients, metachronous distant metastases with locoregional control in 6.2%, and second primary tumors in 18.6%. Twenty percent of patients died of TNM-related deaths. The 5-year overall Kaplan-Meier survival rate was 71% for stages I and II and 47% for stages III and IV disease; the 5-year recurrence-free survival rates were 95% and 69%, respectively.


A comparatively low local recurrence rate, a high recurrence-free survival rate, and the avoidance of laryngectomy favor function-preserving surgery of piriform sinus carcinomas.

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