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Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2012 Mar;42(3):155-60. doi: 10.1093/jjco/hyr190. Epub 2012 Jan 5.

Functional organ preservation for laryngeal cancer: past, present and future.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Kitasato University School of Medicine, Kitasato, Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan.



Management of laryngeal cancer has focused on improving survival while preserving function. Over the past 20 years, the trends have shifted from surgery to chemoradiotherapy and presently we are facing various challenges. It is imperative to re-examine what has happened and what can be done.


Review of the literature along with our experience in the management of functional organ preservation for laryngeal cancer.


There was an increasing use of chemoradiotherapy with a decreasing use of surgery. Inappropriate patient selection along with inability to properly apply salvage surgeries have been presumed to be responsible for survival deterioration in laryngeal cancer. Reports concerning late adverse events after chemoradiotherapy are also increasing. Reconfirmation of the multidisciplinary team approach is imperative. Transoral laser microsurgery can be used for early laryngeal cancer and, in some experienced institutes, for advanced-stage cancers. Supracricoid laryngectomy demonstrated satisfactory oncologic and functional outcomes, based on our experience.


Treatment selection for larynx preservation should not merely be decided by guidelines but considering each patient's individual condition. Head and neck surgeons are encouraged to take reasonable risks in performing salvage larynx preservation surgery when it is the only option to save a functioning larynx.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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