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May 1997

Patterns of Care for Cancer of the Larynx in the United States

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123(5):475-483. doi:10.1001/archotol.1997.01900050021002

Objective:  To assess case-mix characteristics, treatment patterns, and outcomes for laryngeal cancer using the largest series of patients to date.

Design:  Analyses performed on retrospectively collected survey data submitted by hospitals for diagnostic periods 1980 through 1985 and 1990 through 1992 (with a 9-year follow-up for the long-term group).

Setting:  Broad spectrum of US hospitals (N=769).

Patients:  Consecutively accrued series of patients with laryngeal cancer (N=16 936), with only squamous cell carcinomas (N=16 16213) analyzed.

Interventions:  Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

Main Outcome Measures:  Descriptive analyses of case-mix, diagnostic, and treatment characteristics plus recurrence and 5-year, disease-specific survival out

Results:  There was a slight increase across these years in stage IV disease and in radiation therapy (with or without surgery and/or chemotherapy). Overall diversity of management of this disease (by site and stage) was apparent. Five-year survival rates indicated a large difference between modified groupings of the T and N classifications, separating stages III and IV cases into localized disease (87.5% for T1-T2; 76.0% for T3-T4 cases) and regional metastasis (46.2%).

Conclusions:  Regardless of improvements in entering data in hospital records (most commendably, staging), more rigorous standards are needed. Also, the small increase in advanced-stage patients indicates that efforts toward early detection have not been successful. The rise in radiation therapy perhaps reflected an increased use of nonsurgical treatment for early-stage patients and organ-sparing radiochemotherapy protocols for advanced-stage patients. Regrouping stages III and IV cases into localized disease vs regional metastasis appears to predict survival better. Ongoing refinements of the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging scheme will hopefully improve this cancer's classification.Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123:475-483