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Hypopharyngeal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information About Hypopharyngeal Cancer


In many patients, a poor prognosis is related to poor overall health.[13] The most common cause of failure of treatment of the primary tumor is local and/or regional recurrence. Most treatment failures occur within the first 2 years following definitive therapy. The burden of lymph node metastases may yield information of prognostic value. In a retrospective study, a total volume of metastatic disease of more than 100 cm3 indicated a particularly poor prognosis.[25]

In addition to the risk of delayed regional metastases, the risk of developing a second primary tumor in patients with tumors of the upper aerodigestive tract has been estimated to be 4% to 7% per year.[20,26,27,28] Because of these risks, surveillance of patients with hypopharyngeal cancer should be lifelong.

To date, SCC of the hypopharynx has not been associated with any specific chromosomal or genetic abnormalities;[13] however, loss of chromosome 18 was observed in 57% of hypopharyngeal tumors in one study.[29] Several other studies have emphasized the importance of chromosome 11q13 amplification, which may be related to the presence of nodal metastases, greater local aggressiveness, and a higher incidence of tumor recurrence.[30,31,32,33]


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  13. Helliwell TR: acp Best Practice No 169. Evidence based pathology: squamous carcinoma of the hypopharynx. J Clin Pathol 56 (2): 81-5, 2003.
  14. Raghavan U, Quraishi S, Bradley PJ: Multiple primary tumors in patients diagnosed with hypopharyngeal cancer. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 128 (3): 419-25, 2003.
  15. Tabor MP, Brakenhoff RH, van Houten VM, et al.: Persistence of genetically altered fields in head and neck cancer patients: biological and clinical implications. Clin Cancer Res 7 (6): 1523-32, 2001.
  16. Braakhuis BJ, Tabor MP, Kummer JA, et al.: A genetic explanation of Slaughter's concept of field cancerization: evidence and clinical implications. Cancer Res 63 (8): 1727-30, 2003.
  17. Slaughter DP, Southwick HW, Smejkal W: Field cancerization in oral stratified squamous epithelium: clinical implications of multicentric origin. Cancer 6 (5): 963-8, 1953.
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  20. Spector JG, Sessions DG, Haughey BH, et al.: Delayed regional metastases, distant metastases, and second primary malignancies in squamous cell carcinomas of the larynx and hypopharynx. Laryngoscope 111 (6): 1079-87, 2001.
  21. Kotwall C, Sako K, Razack MS, et al.: Metastatic patterns in squamous cell cancer of the head and neck. Am J Surg 154 (4): 439-42, 1987.
  22. Godballe C, Jørgensen K, Hansen O, et al.: Hypopharyngeal cancer: results of treatment based on radiation therapy and salvage surgery. Laryngoscope 112 (5): 834-8, 2002.
  23. Hinerman RW, Amdur RJ, Mendenhall WM, et al.: Hypopharyngeal carcinoma. Curr Treat Options Oncol 3 (1): 41-9, 2002.
  24. Lefebvre JL, Chevalier D, Luboinski B, et al.: Larynx preservation in pyriform sinus cancer: preliminary results of a European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer phase III trial. EORTC Head and Neck Cancer Cooperative Group. J Natl Cancer Inst 88 (13): 890-9, 1996.
  25. Jakobsen J, Hansen O, Jørgensen KE, et al.: Lymph node metastases from laryngeal and pharyngeal carcinomas--calculation of burden of metastasis and its impact on prognosis. Acta Oncol 37 (5): 489-93, 1998.
  26. Khuri FR, Lippman SM, Spitz MR, et al.: Molecular epidemiology and retinoid chemoprevention of head and neck cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 89 (3): 199-211, 1997.
  27. Pfister DG, Shaha AR, Harrison LB: The role of chemotherapy in the curative treatment of head and neck cancer. Surg Oncol Clin N Am 6 (4): 749-68, 1997.
  28. León X, Quer M, Diez S, et al.: Second neoplasm in patients with head and neck cancer. Head Neck 21 (3): 204-10, 1999.
  29. Poetsch M, Kleist B, Lorenz G, et al.: Different numerical chromosomal aberrations detected by FISH in oropharyngeal, hypopharyngeal and laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Histopathology 34 (3): 234-40, 1999.
  30. Meredith SD, Levine PA, Burns JA, et al.: Chromosome 11q13 amplification in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Association with poor prognosis. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 121 (7): 790-4, 1995.
  31. Muller D, Millon R, Velten M, et al.: Amplification of 11q13 DNA markers in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas: correlation with clinical outcome. Eur J Cancer 33 (13): 2203-10, 1997.
  32. Rodrigo JP, García LA, Ramos S, et al.: EMS1 gene amplification correlates with poor prognosis in squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck. Clin Cancer Res 6 (8): 3177-82, 2000.
  33. Rodrigo JP, González MV, Lazo PS, et al.: Genetic alterations in squamous cell carcinomas of the hypopharynx with correlations to clinicopathological features. Oral Oncol 38 (4): 357-63, 2002.

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Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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