Organ-preservation (chemo)radiotherapy for T4 laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer: is the effort worth?

  • Abrahim Al-MamganiEmail author
  • Arash Navran
  • Iris Walraven
  • Willen Hans Schreuder
  • Margot E. T. Tesselaar
  • Willem Martin C. Klop
Head & Neck



We aimed to analyze the oncological and functional outcomes of chemoradiation for T4 laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer.


Patients treated between 2008 and 2015 with chemoradiation (n = 39) were retrospectively analyzed for oncological and functional (laryngo-esophageal dysfunction-free survival, LED-FS) outcomes and compared with 32 consecutive patients treated primarily with total laryngectomy (TL). LED was scored as event in case of local failure, TL for any reason, persistent tracheotomy and/or feeding tube dependency 2 years after chemoradiation.


The 5-year local control (LC) rates in the chemoradiation and TL groups were 64 and 87%, respectively (p = 0.030). The disease-free survival was 54 and 59% (p = 0.810), and overall survival (OS) was 46 and 47% (p = 1.00). In the chemoradiation group, the 5-year cumulative incidence of LED-FS was 46%, but was significantly worse in patients with poor pre-treatment laryngeal function, compared to those without (20% and 74%, respectively, p = 0.001). Furthermore, patients with LED have significantly worse OS compared to those without (32% and 65%, respectively, p = 0.041). Multivariate analysis showed that primary treatment type is significantly predictive for LC, while tumor site and extra-capsular extension were predictive for OS. Poor pre-treatment laryngeal function is the only significant predictive factor for LED.


TL resulted in significantly better LC, as compared to chemoradiation in T4 laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer patients and the LED-FS is worse in patients with poor pre-treatment laryngeal function. These patients might benefit more from primary treatment with TL followed by radiotherapy. These issues should be taken into consideration, as patients are counseled about different primary treatment options.


Laryngeal cancer Hypopharyngeal cancer Organ preservation Chemoradiation Total laryngectomy 



None of the authors have received any funding.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any experimental study with human participants performed by any of the authors. For this type of work, formal consent is not required due to its retrospective nature.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiation OncologyThe Netherlands Cancer InstituteAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Head and Neck SurgeryThe Netherlands Cancer InstituteAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Medical OncologyThe Netherlands Cancer InstituteAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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