International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics vol:9 issue:3 pages:329-34
When different treatment modalities yield equal results in cancer treatment, the least mutilating is preferred. If results are different, however, the survival rate after treatment must be weighed against the quality of life. Considerable controversy exists concerning the primary treatment modality for advanced glottic cancer, with some authors defending surgery (with or without radiotherapy) and others defending radiotherapy as sole treatment, with laryngectomy reversed for local failures. From a group of 102 patients with T3 and T4 tumors, 65 were treated with a laryngectomy. Uncorrected survival at 5 years was 48%, local control was 75%. A group of 35 patients was treated with radiotherapy. Survival was 22% at 5 years, local control 23%, with rescue surgery 37%. These unfavorable results are related to the negative selection of patients for radiotherapy (inoperable, bad cooperation). In 14 patients who were operable but refused laryngectomy the final local control was 53%, with voice preservation in 34%; survival, however, remained low (27% at 5 years). Primary surgery seems to provide better chances for ultimate survival than radiotherapy alone. At the moment, it is not yet clear if a proportion of patients can be selected for whom a more conservative attitude can be allowed, with laryngectomy reserved for poor regression or recurrences after radiotherapy.