Purpose: We compared the management and outcome of supraglottic cancer in Ontario, Canada, with that in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program areas in the United States.
Methods: Electronic, clinical, and hospital data were linked to cancer registry data and supplemented by chart review where necessary. Stage-stratified analyses compared initial treatment and survival in the SEER areas (n = 1,643) with a random sample from Ontario (n = 265). We also compared laryngectomy rates at 3 years in those patients 65 years and older at diagnosis.
Results: Radical surgery was more commonly used in SEER, with absolute differences increasing with increasing stage: I/II, 17%; III, 36%; and IV, 45%. The 5-year survival rates were 74% in Ontario and 56% in SEER for stage I/II disease (P = .01), 55.7% in Ontario and 46.8% in SEER for stage III disease (P = .40), and 28.5% in Ontario and 29.1% in SEER for stage IV disease (P = .28). Cancer-specific survival results mirrored the overall survival results with the exception of stage IV disease, for which 34.6% of Ontario patients survived their cancer compared with 38.1% in SEER (P = .10). This stage IV difference was more pronounced when we further controlled for possible cause of death errors by restricting the comparison to patients with a single primary cancer (P = .01). Three-year actuarial laryngectomy rates differed. In stage I/II, these rates were 3% in Ontario compared with 35% in SEER (P < 10−3). In stage III disease, the rates were 30% and 54%, respectively (P = .03), and in stage IV disease they were 33% and 64% (P = .002).
Conclusion: There are large differences in the management of supraglottic cancer between the SEER areas of the United States and Ontario. Long-term larynx retention was higher in Ontario, where radiotherapy is widely regarded as the treatment of choice and surgery is reserved for salvage. In stages I to III, survival was similar in the two regions despite the differences in treatment policy. In stage IV, there may be a small survival advantage in the U.S. SEER areas related to the higher use of primary surgery.