Larynx and hypopharynx
Squamous cell carcinoma
Glottic squamous cell carcinoma

Author: Nat Pernick, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 23 March 2018, last major update November 2013

Copyright: (c) 2002-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Glottic squamous cell carcinoma [title]

Cite this page: Pernick, N. Glottic squamous cell carcinoma. website. Accessed November 17th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Arises from true vocal cord, anterior and posterior commissure or vocal processes of arytenoid cartilage; 60% of all laryngeal cases
  • Causes hoarseness when tumor is small leading to early detection and high cure rate
  • High cure rate also due to lack of lymphatics in true vocal cord; may spread to opposite cord

  • T1: confined to free edge of vocal cord; 90% cure rate, usually no nodal metastases
  • T2: extends beyond vocal cord with maintained or limited mobility of vocal cord; may spread to nearby cricoid cartilage posteriorly; 7% have ipsilateral nodal metastases
  • T3: vocal cord completely immobile; deep invasion of thyroarytenoid muscle is present, often subglottic extension which may occur under an intact mucous membrane; treated with total laryngectomy; usually not necessary to sample epiglottis if not grossly involved
  • Radiation therapy, surgical excision (laser, endoscopic removal [cordectomy], hemilaryngectomy for T2 lesions)
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Invasion usually limited to tissue superficial to conus elasticus, vocal ligament and thyroglottic ligament