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Oral Oncol. 2007 May;43(5):431-9. Epub 2006 Nov 16.

Evolution of the management of laryngeal cancer.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, The Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.


The treatment of laryngeal cancer has evolved through several phases, starting with wide extirpative surgical resection, and evolving through an era of conservation surgery and, finally, planned treatment using modalities of irradiation, chemotherapy and surgery in various combinations. Attempts to extirpate laryngeal cancer date to the nineteenth century, but only by the mid-twentieth century did advances in anesthesia, blood transfusion and antibiotics, make this surgery safe and reliable. Techniques of partial laryngectomy by external approach developed in the second half of the twentieth century, and endoscopic use of the laser refined the concept and provided a new paradigm for surgical treatment, particularly for early lesions. During most of this era, radiation was employed as an alternative method of treatment, with surgery reserved for salvage of radiation failure. By the last decade of the twentieth century, and to the present time, the value of combined modality therapy, using planned combinations of irradiation, chemotherapy and surgery became the standard of care for advanced laryngeal cancer, permitting maximal laryngeal preservation with the highest attainable cure rates.

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