Primary small cell carcinoma of the larynx is a rare malignancy with a dismal prognosis. A survey of the long-term follow-up from reported cases of small cell carcinoma of the larynx and a review of the recent experience with this tumor at the University of Michigan Hospitals was undertaken to determine if newer treatment approaches incorporating adjuvant chemotherapy were associated with prolonged survival. Median survival for these patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy was 19 months compared to 11 months for patients treated with surgery and/or radiation therapy alone. Among patients treated initially with primary radiation therapy and adjuvant chemotherapy median survival was 55 months, which was significantly longer than any other treatment regimen (P=0.02). Systemic chemotherapy and therapeutic irradiation appears to offer the least disabling and most efficacious form of current therapy.
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