We reviewed the clinical records of 34 patients with laryngeal (25) and hypopharyngeal (9) spindle cell carcinomas who were treated at our institution between 1960 and 1990. All the spindle cell carcinomas were studied using paraffin section immunostains, and we performed ploidy analysis of the sarcomatoid component in 31 patients. Of the 31 patients who underwent their initial treatment at our institution, 25 were men and 6 were women (median age at presentation, 64.6 years). A T1 glottic tumor, usually seen as an exophytic firm mass, was the most common type of tumor observed (16 cases). The spindle cells were nondiploid in 86% of the carcinomas, with positive keratin immunostains in 74%. The median follow-up time was 3.7 years. Recurrence of the tumor after partial or total laryngectomy or pharyngectomy occurred in 10 patients. Eight patients died of their disease. The Kaplan-Meier estimate of surviving at least 3 years after initial treatment was 56.8%. Keratin positivity adversely affected the overall survival rate (p < 0.02). The survival rate of patients with hypopharyngeal tumors was worse than that of patients with laryngeal lesions (p < 0.001). The presence of keratin positivity and nondiploid DNA content in the spindle cell population supports the neoplastic epithelial origin of these tumors (sarcomatoid carcinoma). The overall tumor behavior and surgical therapy appeared to be comparable with those of squamous cell carcinomas at a similar stage.
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