Objective: To evaluate the incidence of morbidity, mortality, and disease control for patients requiring salvage total laryngectomy (TL) following organ preservation therapy. Design: Patients entered into a 3-arm randomized prospective multi-institutional trial for laryngeal preservation who required TL following initial treatment. Setting: The Radiation Therapy Oncology Group 91-11 trial for laryngeal preservation. Patients: From 1992 to 2000, 517 evaluable patients were randomized to receive chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy (arm 1), concomitant chemotherapy and radiation therapy (arm 2), or radiation therapy alone (arm 3). Results: Overall, TL was required in 129 patients. The incidence was 28%, 16%, and 31% in arms 1, 2, and 3, respectively (P=.002). Of these, 7 patients (5%) required TL for aspiration or necrosis. Following TL, the incidence of major and minor complications ranged from 52% to 59% and did not differ significantly among the 3 arms. Pharyngocutaneous fistula was lowest in arm 3 (15%) and highest in arm 2 (30%) (P>.05). There was 1 perioperative death. Local-regional control following salvage TL was 74% for arms 1 and 2 and 90% for arm 3. At 24 months, the overall survival was 69% (arm 1), 71% (arm 2), and 76% (arm 3) (P>.73). Conclusions: Laryngectomy following organ preservation treatment is associated with acceptable morbidity. Perioperative mortality is low but up to one third of patients will develop a pharyngocutaneous fistula. Local-regional control is excellent for this group of patients. Survival following salvage TL was not influenced by the initial organ preservation treatment.
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