For patients with stage II to IV laryngeal cancer, radiation therapy (RT) either alone or with concurrent chemotherapy provides the highest rate of organ preservation but can be associated with functional impairment. Thus, we studied the use of induction chemotherapy with or without conservation laryngeal surgery (CLS). Our objectives were to study the sensitivity of laryngeal cancer to platinum-based chemotherapy alone and to highlight the efficacy of CLS in this setting.
Patients and Methods
Thirty-one previously untreated patients with laryngeal cancer (T2-4, N0-1, M0), who were resectable with CLS, were enrolled. Patients received three to four cycles of paclitaxel, ifosfamide, and cisplatin (TIP) chemotherapy, and response was assessed histologically. Patients with partial response (PR) proceeded to CLS. Patients achieving pathologic complete response (pCR) received an additional three cycles of TIP and no other treatment.
Thirty patients were assessable for response. With TIP chemotherapy alone, 11 patients (37%) achieved pCR, 10 of whom (33%) remain alive with durable disease remission and no evidence of recurrence over a median follow-up time of 5 years. Nineteen patients (63%) treated with TIP alone achieved PR. The overall laryngeal preservation (LP) rate was 83%, and only five patients (16%) required postoperative RT. No patient required a gastrostomy tube or tracheotomy.
Chemotherapy alone in selected patients with T2-4, N0-1 laryngeal cancer can provide durable disease remission at 5 years. For patients with PR, CLS provides a high rate of LP. This prospective study suggests that chemotherapy alone may cure selected patients with laryngeal cancer, warranting further prospective investigation.