Surgery Offers Better Survival Rates among Patients with Laryngeal Cancer, Study


Patients suffering from advanced laryngeal cancer have higher survival rates following surgery than nonsurgical chemoradiation, according to an Ichan School of Medicine study.

Approximately 11,000 to 13,000 cases of laryngeal cancer are screened every year. Prior to 1991, surgical removal of the larynx with postoperative radiation was the standard treatment for advanced cancer. However, chemoradiation became increasingly popular treatment in recent years as it preserves the larynx.

For the study, the researchers compared survival outcomes of surgical vs. nonsurgical treatment for advanced laryngeal cancer using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database. SEER included 5,394 patients diagnosed with stage III or IV laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma between 1992 and 2009.

The researchers found that two-year and five-year disease-specific survival rate was 70 percent vs. 64 percent and 55 percent vs. 51 percent, respectively for those who had surgery. On the other hand, those who did not have surgery, the two-year and five-year survival rate was 64 percent vs. 57 percent and 44 percent vs. 39 percent, respectively.

The study also found that the use of nonsurgical treatment increased over time: 32 percent in the 1992 to 1997 group, 45 percent in the 1998 to 2003 group and 62 percent in the 2004 to 2009 group. Patients who were diagnosed between 2004 and 2009 had better survival rates than those diagnosed earlier due to advanced radiation and chemotherapy strategies.

"Patients need to be made aware of the modest but significant survival disadvantage associated with nonsurgical therapy as part of the shared decision-making process during treatment selection," Researcher Uchechukwu C. Megwalu of the Ichan School of Medicine, said in a press release.

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