Introduction: The Union for International Cancer Control-American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM staging system for glottic squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) includes different types of lesions defined by the involvement of specific subsites in each T category. Our study aims to identify different subcategories according to tumor local extension and determine oncologic outcomes after treatment by transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) alone.
Methods: We retrospectively evaluated 410 patients affected by previously untreated pT1-pT3 glottic SCC treated by TLM alone from January 2005 to December 2015 at the Departments of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Universities of Genoa and Brescia, Italy. All patients had at least 2 years of follow-up. Clinical, radiological, surgical, and histopathological data were reviewed and tumors divided into six subcategories: I, pT1a not involving the anterior commissure (AC); II, pT1b involving the AC; III, pT2 extending superficially to the supraglottis or the subglottis; IV, pT2 infiltrating the vocal muscle; V, pT3 involving the anterior paraglottic space; VI, pT2 or pT3 with vertical extension across the AC with/without involvement of the pre-epiglottic space. Recurrence-free survival (RFS), local control with laser alone (LCL), and organ preservation (OP) were defined as the primary oncologic outcomes.
Results: The 2, 5, and 10-year RFS for the entire series were 85.7, 80.3, and 73.8%, LCL rates 93.8, 92.1, and 89.6%, and OP rates 96.8, 95.9, and 93.5%, respectively. However, when comparing the rates of RFS, LCL, and OP for each subcategory, important differences emerged. In particular, subcategories V and VI showed a significantly increased risk of local recurrence [hazard ratio (HR) = 9.2 and 13.3, respectively]. These subcategories also had a significantly reduced probability to achieve LCL (HR: 73.6 and 93.5, respectively) and OP (HR: 6.4 and 8.1, respectively).
Conclusion: The present classification in subcategories allows introducing the concept of a three-dimensional map of isoprognostic zones in glottic SCC treated by TLM alone as a useful tool in its management by a multidisciplinary tumor board.