Laryngeal penetration and aspiration during swallowing after the treatment of advanced oropharyngeal cancer

M. Boyd Gillespie, Martin B. Brodsky, Terry A. Day, Anand K. Sharma, Fu Shing Lee, Bonnie Martin-Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether laryngeal penetration and aspiration in oropharyngeal cancer survivors differ by treatment group. Design: Cross-sectional study of patients with stage III or IV oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma who were at least 12 months removed from combined modality therapy and clinically free of disease. Subjects: Potential subjects were stratified by tumor site and tumor T stage to achieve a similar comparison between chemoradiotherapy (n = 10) and surgery/radiotherapy (n = 11) groups. Validated instruments used to evaluate swallowing included the Penetration-Aspiration Scale and the M. D. Anderson Dysphagia Inventory. Results: Patients with oropharyngeal cancer treated with chemoradiotherapy demonstrated greater airway protection according to Penetration-Aspiration Scale scores than those treated with surgery and radiotherapy on 5-mL (P = .02), 10-mL (P = .04), and 20-mL (P = .04) liquid barium swallows. Also, the oropharyngeal chemoradiotherapy group had better self-perceived swallowing ability than the surgery-radiotherapy group on the basis of the M. D. Anderson Dysphagia Inventory (P = .02). Conclusion: The present study suggests that patients with oropharyngeal cancer who successfully complete chemoradiotherapy protocols without surgical salvage retain greater airway protection during swallowing and bet ter swallowing-related quality of life than patients treated with primary surgery and radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-619
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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