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Cancer Health Center

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Laryngeal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage I Laryngeal Cancer


Standard treatment options:

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  1. External-beam radiation therapy alone.
  2. Supraglottic laryngectomy. Total laryngectomy may be reserved for patients unable to tolerate potential respiratory complications of surgery or the supraglottic laryngectomy.

Radiation should be preferred because of the good results, preservation of the voice, and the possibility of surgical salvage in patients whose disease recurs locally.[1]


Standard treatment options:

  1. Radiation therapy.[2,3,4,5]
  2. Cordectomy for very carefully selected patients with limited and superficial T1 lesions.[6,7]
  3. Partial or hemilaryngectomy or total laryngectomy, depending on anatomic considerations.
  4. Laser excision.[6,8]


Standard treatment options:

  1. Lesions can be treated successfully by radiation therapy alone with preservation of normal voice.
  2. Surgery is reserved for failure of radiation therapy or for patients who cannot be easily assessed for radiation therapy.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage I laryngeal cancer. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.


  1. Ogura JH, Sessions DG, Spector GJ: Conservation surgery for epidermoid carcinoma of the supraglottic larynx. Laryngoscope 85 (11 pt 1): 1808-15, 1975.
  2. Mittal B, Rao DV, Marks JE, et al.: Role of radiation in the management of early vocal cord carcinoma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 9 (7): 997-1002, 1983.
  3. Wang CC: Factors influencing the success of radiation therapy for T2 and T3 glottic carcinomas. Importance of cord mobility and sex. Am J Clin Oncol 9 (6): 517-20, 1986.
  4. Mendenhall WM, Amdur RJ, Morris CG, et al.: T1-T2N0 squamous cell carcinoma of the glottic larynx treated with radiation therapy. J Clin Oncol 19 (20): 4029-36, 2001.
  5. Foote RL, Olsen KD, Kunselman SJ, et al.: Early-stage squamous cell carcinoma of the glottic larynx managed with radiation therapy. Mayo Clin Proc 67 (7): 629-36, 1992.
  6. Steiner W: Results of curative laser microsurgery of laryngeal carcinomas. Am J Otolaryngol 14 (2): 116-21, 1993 Mar-Apr.
  7. Olsen KD, Thomas JV, DeSanto LW, et al.: Indications and results of cordectomy for early glottic carcinoma. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 108 (3): 277-82, 1993.
  8. Lucioni M, Bertolin A, Rizzotto G, et al.: CO(2) laser surgery in elderly patients with glottic carcinoma: univariate and multivariate analyses of results. Head Neck 34 (12): 1804-9, 2012.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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