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Strahlenther Onkol. 1997 Feb;173(2):83-90.

[Primary radiotherapy of laryngeal carcinoma. An analysis of the therapeutic results and of the the relapse behavior in 283 patients].

[Article in German]

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Klinik und Poliklinik für Strahlentherapie-Radioonkologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster.



In the treatment of laryngeal carcinoma definitive radiotherapy results in a similar outcome as surgical treatment in the early stages with a lower morbidity rate and good functional results. In fact no randomized studies exist, so far, and the optimal treatment concept for the different stages is not well defined. The following study analyses retrospectively the treatment results and the recurrence data in patients with a squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx treated with definitive radiotherapy.


Two hundreds and eighty-three patients with carcinoma of the larynx were treated with radiation therapy in the department of radiology of the LMU München between September 1971 and June 1986. Twenty-six patients (9.2%) were female and 257 (73.1%) male. The median age was 68.5 years, respectively 70 years. All patients had a histologically confirmed squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx. No true subglottic cases were observed. Forty-one (14.5%) tumors were localized supraglottically, 207 (73.1%) glottically. Thirty-five patients had a T4 tumor with glottic and supraglottic involvement. In 147 patients the histopathological grading was evaluable: 32 tumors were classified as G1, 95 as G2, 15 as G3 and 5 as G4. According to the UICC classification of 1979 25 patients had a carcinoma in situ (Tis), 93 patients had a stage T1, 90 stage T2, 40 stage T3 and 35 stage T4. Two hundreds and thirty-three of 283 (82.3%) had no lymph node involvement. In 50 patients clinically a lymph node involvement was observed. 22 patients had a stage N1, 5 patients stage N2 and 23 patients stage N3. An external beam radiation mostly with cobalt-60 was performed with a mean dose of 61.9 Gy.


The 5-years relapse-free survival for the whole group was 61.7%. The probability for "no evidence of disease" (NED) depended on tumor stage and localisation (glottic tumors: Tis/T1 90.5%: T2 59.4%: T3 39.6%: [5-year NED]; supraglottic tumors T1 64.2%: T2/3 28.6%: T4/N3 24.7% [3-year NED]). Other significant prognostic factors besides T-stage were N-stage (NO vs. N1-3: 3-year recurrence-free survival 68% vs. 37.2%, p < 0.001) and histopathologic grading (G1 vs. G3/4: 3-year recurrence-free survival 74% vs. 37.1%, p < 0.01). One hundred and twenty-two (43.1%) patients had a recurrence, which occurred in 75.4% local, in 12.3% loco regional, in 8.2%, with distant metastases and 4.1% combined. In 50 patients with a recurrent disease a salvage therapy was carried out. Thereby 17 patients achieved a complete response.


Even for the here described negatively selected patient group with a high median age and multimorbidity, good local control rates could be achieved especially in early stages with definitive radiation therapy. In more advanced stages even in elderly patients a combined surgical-radiotherapeutic treatment should be performed.

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