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Original Article
Oct 2011

Temporal Trends in the Treatment of Early- and Advanced-Stage Laryngeal Cancer in the United States, 1985-2007

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, School of Medicine (Dr Chen), and School of Medicine (Mr Zhu), Emory University, and Department of Health Services Research, American Cancer Society (Dr Chen and Ms Fedewa), Atlanta, Georgia.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011;137(10):1017-1024. doi:10.1001/archoto.2011.171

Objective To describe trends and 4-year survival rate of surgical and nonsurgical treatment for laryngeal cancer.

Design Observational cross-sectional study.

Patients A total of 131 694 cases of laryngeal cancer diagnosed from 1985 to 2007 identified from the National Cancer Database.

Main Outcome Measures Primary treatment information, including radiation therapy (RT), chemoradiation (CRT), and curative intent surgery, were identified. The association between treatment and the patient's clinical and nonclinical variables was analyzed using univariate and multivariate statistics. The 4-year survival rate was generated through Kaplan-Meier estimates, and multivariate Cox proportional hazard models were used to generate hazard ratios.

Results Among patients with early-stage cancer, the proportion receiving primary surgery increased (from 20% in 1985 to 33% in 2007), whereas the use of RT decreased from 64% to 52%. Patients with early-stage cancer who resided in areas with higher socioeconomic status (SES) zip codes, had private insurance, who were not African American, and who were treated at academic facilities were more likely to receive surgery. The 4-year survival rate for patients with early-stage laryngeal cancer treated with surgery was higher than the rate for those treated with RT (79% vs 71%). Among patients with advanced-stage cancer, the use of CRT increased from less than 7% to 45%, whereas the use of total laryngectomy decreased from 42% to 32%. The use of CRT was more common among patients who resided in areas with higher SES zip codes, had private insurance, and who were younger. The 4-year survival rates for patients with advanced laryngeal cancer treated with total laryngectomy, CRT, and RT were 51%, 48%, and 38%, respectively. Factors associated with an increased risk of death from advanced laryngeal cancer included receiving CRT and race/ethnicity.

Conclusions Among patients with early-stage laryngeal cancer, we observed an increasing proportion of primary surgical therapy during this study period. Among patients with advanced-stage cancer, we observed an increasing proportion of CRT. Not only were clinical factors associated with type of treatment, but select sociodemographic elements were also associated with treatment. Further investigation as to the decision-making process of patients with different sociodemographic backgrounds will assist in mitigating the differences in survival for this group of patients.