From Our 2008 Archives

Laser Therapy a New Option for Vocal-Cord Cancers

MONDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) — A new laser treatment for early vocal-cord cancer targets tumor blood vessels while preserving and restoring patients' voices, according to Massachusetts General Hospital researchers, who noted that radiotherapy or surgery can permanently damage vocal quality.

Details about this new pulsed Potassium-Titanyl-Phosphate (KTP) laser treatment, which has been used in more than 25 patients, were presented at the recent annual meeting of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association and were expected to be published as a supplement in an upcoming issue of the journal Annals of Otology, Rhinology, & Laryngology.

"We had previously adapted lasers that target blood vessels to treat precancerous vocal-cord dysplasia and a variety of benign vascular lesions. We have now applied that experience to treat vocal-cord cancer, which is diagnosed in several thousand American patients each year," Dr. Steven Zeitels, director of the MGH Voice Center, said in a prepared statement.

The first 22 patients who received pulsed-KTP for vocal-cord cancer are cancer-free up to five years after treatment, without removal of vocal-cord tissue or loss of voice quality.

Some of the patients have required second or third laser treatments to remove residual cancer, but another benefit of this therapy is that it doesn't rule out future treatment options, Zeitels said.

The treatment has become a standard management approach at MGH and may soon be used by other institutions in the United States and other countries, said Zeitels, who estimated that about 90 percent of patients with early vocal-cord cancer would be candidates for pulsed-KTP laser treatment.

— Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, news release, May 2008

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