Introduction Due to conflicting data in the literature, there is a continuing debate on whether advanced hypopharyngeal carcinoma patients should be treated with definitive surgery or chemoradiotherapy. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the management and outcomes of advanced hypopharyngeal carcinoma in a tertiary care institution over the last 25 years. Methods An Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved and HIPPA-compliant retrospective analysis was performed of patients with advanced-stage squamous cell carcinoma of the hypopharynx treated at our institution between January 1994 and December 2018. Data regarding demographics, stage, treatment, and follow-up were collected. Outcomes including median survival and overall survival were calculated using the Kaplan Meier method. All analyses were performed using SPSS v. 24.  Results This study included a total of 103 advanced stage hypopharyngeal cancer patients. The median age for this cohort is 61 years (range: 41-88, SD 9.3). Of the total 103 eligible patients treated, 92 (89.3%) were male and 11 (10.7%) female; 61 (59.2%) were African Americans, 39 (37.9%) were Caucasians and three (2.9%) were other races. Seventeen patients (16.5%) had stage III disease, whereas 86 (83.5%) patients were diagnosed with Stage IV A or B disease. Seventy-two patients (69.9%) were treated with definitive chemoradiotherapy (ChemoRT group), and 31 patients (30.1%) underwent primary surgery with or without adjuvant treatments (Surgery group). The two treatment groups were similar in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, alcohol status, N staging, and subsites but were significantly different for smoking status ( = 0.035) and T staging (= 0.024). The median follow-up was 17 months. The median survival of the overall cohort was 26 months, and five-year overall survival was 25.5%. The median survival was found to be significantly better for the surgery group as compared to the definitive chemoradiotherapy group (43 months vs 16 months, = 0.049). The five-year overall survival (OS; 41.5% vs 18.5%, = 0.049) and disease-free survival (DFS; 75.3% vs 56%; = 0.029) were significantly better for patients in the surgery group compared to the chemoradiotherapy group. On multivariate Cox-regression analysis, lymph nodal status (HR = 1.27, CI: 1.00-1.62, = 0.047) and chemoradiation treatment (HR = 1.82, CI: 1.00-3.29, = 0.048) were associated with higher risk of mortality.  Conclusion In our single institutional experience of advanced hypopharyngeal carcinoma management, the five-year overall survival rate was found to be 25.5 % and was the poorest among head and neck cancers. The patients with advanced hypopharyngeal cancer treated with surgery followed by adjuvant radiation or chemoradiation have significantly improved overall survival compared to those treated with definitive chemoradiotherapy. Further research warranted for early detection and better treatment to improve the cure rate in hypopharyngeal carcinoma patients.
Copyright © 2020, Vengaloor Thomas et al.