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Onkologie. 2004 Aug;27(4):368-75.

Approaches to preserve larynx function in locally advanced laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University Clinic Hamburg, Germany.


Randomized controlled studies have shown that preservation of the larynx function in patients with advanced resectable laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer is possible without compromising survival compared to total laryngectomy (TL). Options for preserving the larynx include function-sparing surgery, radiotherapy alone, induction chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy of responders, and concomitant radiochemotherapy. The current data suggest that induction chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy of responders is an acceptable alternative to TL for patients desiring larynx preservation. Concomitant radiochemotherapy (platinum/5-FU) leads to superior local control and larynx preservation rates compared to induction chemotherapy followed by radiation. The optimal treatment sequence for newer cytotoxic agents is, however, unclear. Such cytotoxic agents and more effective fractionation regimens as well as more advanced surgical techniques are currently evaluated. Predictive tests to successfully stratify patients for the optimal treatment option and more effective systemic therapy are needed to improve therapeutic possibilities and survival.

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