Purpose of review
The aim of thi study was to review the recent literature on epidemiology, biology and treatment of laryngeal cancer in paediatric and young adult patients.
Epidemiological studies reported that 2–10% of patients with laryngeal cancer are younger than 40-year-old, while the prevalence of laryngeal cancer remains unknown in the paediatric population. The development of laryngeal cancer in young adults is multifactorial and may be linked to common carcinogens (tobacco and alcohol), occupational factors, laryngopharyngeal reflux, immunosuppression, human papillomavirus infection and genetic polymorphism. A substantial number of cohort studies reported a significant lower proportion of drinkers and smokers in young populations with laryngeal cancer, supporting the higher prevalence of chromosomal losses or abnormalities predisposing to cancer in this group. The development of laryngeal cancer in paediatric patients is strongly associated with genetic syndromes with DNA repair abnormalities. The pathological, clinical and survival outcome differences between young and old patient groups vary significantly between studies, depending on epidemiological, genetic features and therapeutic strategies used.
Paediatric and adult populations with laryngeal cancer present different clinical, pathological and survival outcomes. In the adult population, the patient age at the time of disease development underlies genetic and etiological differences with different mutation patterns between young and old patients, the latter being more frequently individuals with a history of tobacco and alcohol abuse. The differences between age groups regarding stage of cancer at initial presentation, as well as clinical and survival outcomes, are unclear, which may be due to demographic, ethnicity and population genetic differences.