Nodal disease in purely glottic carcinoma: Is elective neck treatment worthwhile?

Caroline Y. Yang, Peter E. Andersen, Edwin C. Everts, James I. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objective: Although there is a generalized understanding of the relatively low overall incidence of nodal disease from purely glottic carcinoma, the exact role for elective neck treatment in the management of this disease remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to identify the incidence of occult nodal disease (including paratracheal) in patients who have glottic carcinoma without significant extraglottic extension and to identify which patients are at risk for this. A retrospective chart review of 92 such patients who had either undergone neck dissection or been observed for a minimum of 2 years was performed. Results: For the 92 patients, neck treatment consisted of observation in 68 patients, paratracheal node dissection in four, unilateral neck dissection in four, unilateral neck dissection and excision of paratracheal nodes in 14, and bilateral neck dissection with paratracheal node excision in two. Of the 24 nodal dissections performed, four were positive for occult metastatic disease. No patient in the observation group developed nodal disease. Conclusion: The incidence of occult nodal disease in N0 glottic carcinoma is low, 0% in early stage disease (T1-T2) and 19% in late stage disease (T3-T4). Nodes at highest risk included only the paratracheal, level II, and level III. Elective neck treatment should only be undertaken for advanced (T3-T4) disease and even then is of questionable benefit. If undertaken, it should have a low potential morbidity, such as selective neck dissection or radiation. Computed tomography was not useful in staging the neck for this subset of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1006-1008
Number of pages3
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1998


  • Elective neck dissection
  • Glottic carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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