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MGH researchers report successful new laser treatment for vocal-cord cancer
Date:5/6/2008

An innovative laser treatment for early vocal-cord cancer, developed at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), successfully restores patients voices without radiotherapy or traditional surgery, which can permanently damage vocal quality. This new option for patients, which has now been used in more than 25 patients, was reported on May 1 at the annual meeting of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association, and the data will soon be published as a supplement to the Annals of Otology, Rhinology, & Laryngology.

We had previously adapted lasers that target blood vessels to treat precancerous vocal-cord dysplasia and a variety of benign vascular lesions. We have now applied that experience to treat vocal-cord cancer, which is diagnosed in several thousand American patients each year, says Steven Zeitels, MD, director of the MGH Voice Center.

Zeitels team began applying pulsed lasers to the treatment of early vocal-cord cancer more than five years ago. After successfully treating the first eight patients with the pulsed-dye laser, Zeitels group switched to the more precise pulsed Potassium-Titanyl-Phosphate (KTP) laser, which is even less likely to damage delicate vocal-cord tissue. The use of specific wavelengths of laser light to target blood vessels was originally applied to the removal of vascular skin lesions like port-wine stains by Rox Anderson, MD, now director of the MGH Wellman Center of Photomedicine. In a close collaboration with Anderson, Zeitels previously developed application of these angiolytic lasers to benign and precancerous vocal-cord lesions.

As Zeitels reported at the ABEA meeting, the first 22 patients receiving pulsed laser treatment for vocal-cord cancer are cancer-free up to 5 years after treatment, without removal of vocal-cord tissue or loss of voice quality. Some have required second or third laser treatments to remove residual disease, but another benefit of the therapy is that it does not r
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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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