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June 1996

Regional Metastases in Patients With Advanced Laryngeal Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Drs Moe and Wolf); the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loyola University, Chicago, Ill (Dr Fisher); and the Department of Thoracic, Head, and Neck Medical Oncology, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (Dr Hong). A full listing of the members of The Department of Veterans Affairs Laryngeal Cancer Study Group is on page 646.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1996;122(6):644-648. doi:10.1001/archotol.1996.01890180052013

Objectives:  To determine patterns of regional metastases in patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx and the effect of these patterns on regional and distant tumor recurrence and disease-free and overall survival.

Methods:  One hundred fifty-nine patients treated with conventional surgery and radiation in the Veterans Affairs Cooperative Study were studied. Ninety-three of the patients underwent modified or classic radical neck dissection. Median follow-up was 5 years. Patient data collected included age, gender, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and performance status. Tumor variables evaluated included TNM classification, tumor site, surface area, presence of ulceration and invasion, and histologic growth pattern. Histologically positive regional lymph nodes were examined for level, number, site, and extra-capsular spread. Outcome variables included time and location of recurrence, distant metastases, and survival.

Results:  Regional metastases were more common in supraglottic than glottic or subglottic tumors (P<.001) and in tumors with larger surface dimensions (P=.004). Cervical metastases were associated with decreased disease-free interval (P<.001) and survival (P=.001) and increased distant metastases (P<.001). Presence of 3 or more positive nodes predicted distant recurrence (P<.001) and decreased survival (P<.001, multivariate analysis). An analysis of lymph node involvement (levels I-V) indicated that level 1 and 5 involvement was a significant prognostic factor. Age, sex, race, and tobacco or alcohol use were not associated with number or extent of regional metastases.

Conclusions:  These findings confirm the prognostic importance of number and level of lymph nodes in advanced laryngeal cancer. The association of distant metastases with number and level of regional nodes indicates a use for these variables in considering adjuvant chemotherapy.(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1996;122:644-648)

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