Radiation therapy for early laryngeal cancer offers an excellent probability of cure as well as preservation of vocal function. Reported failure rates range from 9 to 21% in patients with T1 lesions, and from 28 to 44% in those with T2 lesions, the majority of whom are subsequently salvaged by surgery.
Results obtained at the Radiotherapy Center of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals in 44 patients during the period from 1960 to 1972 yielded failure rates of 21% in patients with T1 tumors and 38% in patients with T2 tumors at 5 years. Five of the eight recurrences were salvaged with surgery yielding an overall tumor control rate of 93%. The larynx was preserved in 82% of the cases. Determinate 5-year survival was 91% in T1 cases and 86% in T2 cases.
Failure rates at 3 years were 18% for T1 tumors and 30% for T2 lesions. These results are in conflict with those reported by Brandenburg and Rutter as being 46% and 60% respectively.
Ultimate success in the treatment of laryngeal cancer rests in the full cooperation between surgeons and radiotherapists.