March 8, 2009

Survival with Advanced Laryngeal Cancer Varies


Survival with Advanced Laryngeal Cancer Varies

According to the results of a study published in Archives of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, survival with Stage III or Stage IV laryngeal cancer varies by type of treatment, gender, race, and type of health insurance.

The larynx, which sits just below the pharynx in the neck, contains the vocal cords. Each year in the U.S., roughly 11,300 new cases of laryngeal cancer are diagnosed.[1] Important risk factors for laryngeal cancer include smoking and heavy alcohol use.

To explore factors that may contribute to variability in survival with advanced laryngeal cancer, researchers conducted a study among 7,019 patients with Stage III or Stage IV laryngeal cancer.[2] All study information was collected from the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB).

  • Women had better survival than men.
  • White patients had better survival than African-American patients.
  • Patients with private insurance had better survival than uninsured patients or patients with Medicare or Medicaid.
  • Among both Stage III and Stage IV patients, total laryngectomy resulted in better survival than radiation therapy alone.
  • Compared with total laryngectomy, combined chemotherapy/radiation therapy resulted in similar survival among patients with Stage III cancer and worse survival among patients with Stage IV cancer.

A limitation of this study is that it was not a randomized clinical trial. The results could have been biased by unmeasured factors that are linked with both survival and choice of treatment. Nevertheless, the study does suggest that there are disparities in survival among patients with advanced laryngeal cancer. African American patients and patients without private insurance tend to have worse survival.


[1] American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2007. Available at: (Accessed January 16, 2008).

[2] Chen AY, Halpern M. Factors predictive of survival in advanced laryngeal cancer. Archives of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery. 2007;133:1270-1276.

Related News: Smoking Largely Responsible for Laryngeal Cancers (3/19/2007)

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