Primary surgery vs chemoradiation treatment of advanced-stage hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma

Brianna N. Harris, Vincent L. Biron, Paul Donald, D Gregory Farwell, Quang C. Luu, Arnaud Bewley, Allen M. Chen, Megan E Daly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE There is no consensus whether primary surgery followed by either adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) or adjuvant chemoradiation (CRT) or definitive CRT should be the standard treatment approach to advanced-stage hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (HP SCC). OBJECTIVES To determine survival outcomes for patients with advanced-stage HP SCC treated at a single institution with either primary surgery plus RT or CRT or definitive CRT. EVIDENCE AND DATA ACQUISITION We conducted a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected medical records in an institutional database for patients with HP SCC newly diagnosed between January 1999 and April 2013. Overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) were calculated and compared between treatment groups using the Kaplan-Meier method, with multivariate Cox regression analysis used to control for demographic and clinicopathologic features. RESULTS We identified 166 consecutively treated patients, 90 of whom did not meet study criteria. Of the 76 included patients, 48 (63%) had undergone definitive CRT, and 28 (37%) had undergone primary surgery with adjuvant RT or CRT. The groups were well balanced by age, smoking history, and alcohol use. Five-year OS and RFS for patients treated surgically were 66.3%and 53.6%, respectively; for patients treated with definitive CRT, OS and RFS were 41.3%and 34.5%, respectively. Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that surgical management was associated with clinically improved OS (hazard ratio [HR], 4.78; 95%CI, 0.91-25.03; P = .06) and RFS (HR, 2.97; 95%CI, 0.76-11.53; P = .12), although the difference was not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Patients with advanced-stage HP SCC treated surgically with adjuvant RT or CRT showed a trend toward clinically improved OS and RFS compared with patients treated with definitive CRT. However, the difference was not statistically significant, and further investigation with larger controlled trials using modern approaches should be undertaken to optimize the initial management of advanced-stage HP SCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)636-640
Number of pages5
JournalJAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Surgery


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