The role of tumor size and patient’s age as prognostic factors in laryngeal cancer

Hippokratia 2011; 15(1):75-80

K. Markou, J. Goudakos, S. Triaridis, J. Konstantinidis, V. Vital, A. Nikolaou


Background and aim: The loco-regional recurrence of laryngeal carcinoma in patients who underwent total laryngectomy is related to numerous factors. Aim of the present study was to investigate the role of patient’s age and tumor size in the recurrence rate of patients. Additional aim of the current study was to investigate the possible associations between the size of the tumor and other characteristics.
Patients and methods: In 1st Department of Otorhinolaryngology of AHEPA University Hospital, from 1992 to 2007, 255 patients with laryngeal carcinoma underwent total laryngectomy. Accurate data regarding the size of the tumor were obtained. Total laryngectomy was the initial treatment in 212 patients, while in the remaining 43 patients was performed as salvage surgery after recurrence.
Results: The median tumor size was 2.74 cm (0.8-5.5 cm). There was no significant difference in the median tumor size between the patients who had recurrence (2.87 cm) and the disease free patients (2.69 cm). The median size of glottic tumors (2.47 cm) was smaller than that of supraglottic (2.95 cm) and of subglottic tumors (3.27 cm) (p<0.05). Among the 255 patients, recurrence of the tumor occurred in 73 (28.7%). Statistical analysis of the data showed that the tumor size was affecting the recurrence rate in a different manner, according the stage of the tumor. The recurrence rate in T3 neoplasms was higher in larger tumors than in smaller (13.2% for tumors4cm), while T4 carcinomas appeared to have the opposite behavior (66.5% for tumors <2cm, 23% for tumors >4cm). The median tumor size in T4 patients that recurred was smaller than in those with no recurrence (2.8 cm Vs 3.3 cm). This behavior was observed in T4 tumors from all sites. Patients who experienced recurrence and had positive neck lymph nodes at the time of the initial diagnosis appeared to have smaller laryngeal tumors (2.7 cm), compared to with the same group of patients with no recurrence (3.5 cm). Supraglottic location and advanced T stage showed a statistically significant impact on disease free survival, based on Cox regression model.
Conclusions: Smaller sized tumors in patients with locally advanced laryngeal cancer (T4) or regionally (N+) appear to have more aggressive behavior and higher recurrence rate. Thus, the small tumor size could be regarded as an unfavorable prognostic factor for those laryngeal cancer cases.