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Thyroid gland involvement in carcinoma of the hypopharynx

  • P Joshi (a1), S Nair, P Chaturvedi (a1), D Nair (a1), T Shivakumar (a1) and A K D'Cruz (a1)...



The thyroid gland is removed en bloc during laryngectomy. There are no objective criteria for deciding the extent of thyroid gland resection in primary hypopharyngeal cancer cases. The present study aimed to determine the incidence of thyroid gland involvement in hypopharyngeal cancer and identify the various predictors of this involvement.


This paper reports a retrospective analysis of 358 patients with hypopharyngeal cancer, who underwent total laryngectomy with partial or total pharyngectomy at Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai between 2004 and 2010.


The mean age of this population was 61 years. The pyriform sinus was the most common hypopharyngeal subsite involved (in 89 per cent of cases). Most patients underwent hemi-thyroidectomy as part of their surgery. The thyroid gland was involved in only 13 per cent of cases.


Thyroid gland involvement is not common in hypopharyngeal cancer. Cases that involved the post-cricoid area, subglottic extension, extralaryngeal spread or prior tracheostomy were associated with a higher risk of thyroid gland involvement. Ipsilateral thyroidectomy is sufficient in most patients undergoing surgery (laryngectomy with partial or total pharyngectomy) for hypopharyngeal cancers.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Sudhir Nair, Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Tata Memorial Hospital, Dr Ernest Borges Road, Parel, Mumbai 400012, India E-mail:


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