Thyroid cancers with laryngotracheal invasion†

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Management of thyroid cancers with laryngotracheal invasion is controversial.


A retrospective analysis of our database found 69 patients (38 females, mean age 59.6 ± 11.6) between March 1995 and July 2010; of them 42 (61%) were managed by non-resectional methods due to the extensive airway or regional involvement, severe co-morbidities, diffuse metastases or patient's preference. Segmental airway resection was performed in 27 (39%) patients; concurrent with thyroidectomy in 17 (Immediate group (IG)), and as a delayed procedure in 10 referred patients (Delayed group (DG)), who had previously undergone thyroidectomy with conservative airway management, like shaving procedures. Follow-up was completed in 81% of patients with a mean duration of 30 months.


Tracheal or laryngotracheal resection and reconstruction was performed in 18, laryngectomy in eight and pharyngolaryngectomy in one patient. There were two anastomotic dehiscence (11.1%), one resulted in mortality (3.7%). One or a combination of bronchoscopic core-out, laser, tracheostomy and stent placement was performed in 42 non-resected patients with two mortalities (4.7%). Overall 1-, 2-, 3- and 5-year survival was 85, 85, 68 and 49% in resected group, as well as 56, 46, 40 and 31% in non-resected group (P = 0.049), respectively. Among resected group, the overall 1-, 2-, 3- and 5-year survival was 92, 92, 76 and 61% in the IG as well as 75, 75, 56 and 28% in the DG (P = 0.43).


Complete segmental airway resection during or even after thyroidectomy could be safely performed, might be curative and may be associated with improved survival.

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