JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Endoscopic carbon dioxide laser surgery for glottic cancer recurrence after radiotherapy: oncological results.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate local control, organ preservation, and complications after endoscopic laser surgery for early recurrent glottic cancer after radiotherapy.

DESIGN: Retrospective study.

SETTING: European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.

PATIENTS: The study, which was conducted between May 1999 and September 2005, included 37 consecutive patients (33 men and 4 women) with recurrent glottic cancer after radiotherapy. Selection criteria were as follows: rcTis, rcT1, or rcT2 with subglottic or supraglottic involvement of less than 5 mm and no arytenoid invasion; adequate laryngeal exposure; no previous open surgery; no contraindications to general anesthesia; and signed consent.

INTERVENTIONS: Endoscopic laser surgery with curative intent using types III to V cordectomies according to the European Laryngological Association.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Five-year actuarial recurrence-free and overall survival, complications, and rate of laryngeal preservation.

RESULTS: The clinical classifications of the recurrences were rcTis (n = 4), rcT1a (n = 10), rcT1b (n = 11), and rcT2 (n = 12). The pathologic classifications of the recurrences were rpT0 (n = 2), rpTis (n = 5), rpT1a (n = 9), rpT1b (n = 3), rpT2 (n = 14), and rpT3 (n = 4). The median follow-up was 44 months (range, 18-88 months). New recurrences developed in 13 patients (35%): 11 were treated by total laryngectomy, 1 by supracricoid laryngectomy, and 1 by chemotherapy. Three patients died of laryngeal cancer, 1 is alive with disease, and 1 died of a second cancer. Five-year actuarial recurrence-free and overall survival rates were 58% and 86%, respectively. The larynx was preserved in 26 patients (70%). Laryngeal stenosis was the most common major complication (in 3 of 4 women and 1 of 33 men).

CONCLUSIONS: Endoscopic laser surgery is a safe and effective salvage procedure in selected cases involving glottic recurrence after radiotherapy. Oncological results are satisfactory, and organ preservation can be achieved in a high proportion of cases; however, the risk of laryngeal stenosis is high in women.

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