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Lymphatic Growth Associated with Laryngeal Cancer Spread

But study finds no such association with spread of oropharyngeal or hypopharyngeal cancer

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with laryngeal cancer, the development of intratumoral lymphatics is associated with metastasis to the regional lymph nodes, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

Nathalie Audet, M.D., of the University of Toronto in Ontario, and colleagues analyzed biopsy specimens from 168 previously untreated patients with advanced, squamous cell carcinoma. Of these, 73 had cancer of the larynx, 62 had cancer of the oropharynx and 33 had cancer of the hypopharynx.

In the laryngeal cancer patients, the researchers found a significant relationship between nodal metastases at presentation and the presence of intratumoral lymphatics. No such relationship was found in patients with oropharyngeal or hypopharyngeal cancer. They also found that disease-specific survival was significantly worse in patients with high lymphatic vessel density.

"Detecting tumor lymphatic vessel proliferation is another step in the understanding of tumor biology, and the targeting of lymphatic growth may be of potential therapeutic benefit in selected patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma," the authors conclude.

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