Thirty-three small glottic carcinomas (T1 and small T2; UICC, 1978) were examined by malignancy grading using the 8-factor system proposed by Jakobsson et al. [Acta radiol. Ther. phys. Biol. 12: 1–8, 1973] and the 4-factor system set up by Glanz and Eichhorn [Hals-Nas.-Ohrenarzt 33: 103–111, 1985]. DNA ploidy, S-phase, and the presence of polyploid cell nuclei were determined. There was no significant difference in malignancy score or DNA values between tumors that recurred after a full course of radiotherapy and those that did not. All but one carcinoma that recurred had polyploid nuclei, in comparison with only 13 of the 22 nonrecurrent tumors. Neither malignancy grading nor DNA measurements seem to predict the clinical course of small glottic carcinomas. Accurate and adequate radiotherapy may be more reliable for local tumor control than tumor character. The extent of the tumor, such as the involvement of the anterior commissure, may be another factor affecting the prognosis.

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