Scientific article

Impact of cartilage invasion on treatment and prognosis of laryngeal cancer

Published inEuropean radiology, vol. 6, no. 2, p. 156-169
Publication date1996

Invasion of laryngeal cartilage has long been considered as a contraindication to radiation treatment and to all types of conservation surgery. With the advent of axial imaging techniques clarification of the submucosal extent of disease became possible. However, controversies regarding diagnosis (preferred modality, accuracy of detection of cartilage invasion) and treatment of cartilage invasion (Is cartilage invasion really a contraindication for irradiation treatment?) arose. Based on currently accepted criteria, CT appears to be more specific in detecting neoplastic cartilage invasion than MRI, but tends to underestimate invasion and may therefore result in undertreatment. Magnetic resonance has a higher sensitivity than CT for detection of cartilage invasion. The superiority of MRI lies in its ability to detect intracartilaginous tumor spread. Unfortunately, MR findings suggesting neoplastic cartilage invasion may be false positive in a considerable number of instances. Two MRI-dependent parameters appear to be significant as a prognostic factor for success of radiation therapy: tumor volume and abnormal MR signal pattern in cartilage. Minimal abnormal MR signal patterns in cartilage in patients with small tumors (under 5 cc) does not appear to be a very ominous finding for tumor recurrence after radiation therapy. On the other hand, abnormal MR signal pattern in cartilage combined with large tumor volume (above 5 cc) appears to worsen the prognosis significantly. If voice conservation surgery is being considered, MR imaging is useful for assessing those structures (such as cartilages) whose involvement would contraindicate partial laryngectomy. Magnetic resonance imaging appears to be the optimal method of examination in cooperative patients. If MRI fails or if it is contra-indicated, CT may still be recommended. The radiologist's experience with CT or MRI also determines the choice between the two modalities.

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Cartilages/pathology/radiation effects/surgery
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms/pathology/radiotherapy/surgery
  • Laryngectomy/contraindications/methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy/contraindications
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Voice
Citation (ISO format)
CASTELIJNS, J, BECKER, Minerva, HERMANS, R. Impact of cartilage invasion on treatment and prognosis of laryngeal cancer. In: European radiology, 1996, vol. 6, n° 2, p. 156–169. doi: 10.1007/BF00181135
ISSN of the journal0938-7994

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