ENT cancers


There are multiple types of ENT cancers: Head, neck, base of the skull, salivary glands and so on. 80% are squamous cell lesions which arise in the Buccal cavity and the throat.

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What are ENT cancers?

Predisposing factors are clearly identified. At the top of the list are smoking, alcohol and some viruses, such as HPV16 in young people. Cancer is a serious disease whose cure will depend on whether it is localised or, on the contrary, has metastasized with extended lesions. The five-year cure rate varies between 20% and 80%.

There are many types of ENT cancers. They are generally classed according to the location of the tumour.

  • Buccal cavity: tongue, jaw, floor of the mouth, cheek, palate and lips.
  • Oropharynx: tonsils, soft palate, base of the tongue and vallecula.
  • Larynx: vocal cords, epiglottis, ventricular folds and subglottis.
  • Hypopharynx and laryngeal lips: piriform sinus, posterior pharyngeal wall, retro-arytenoid region and mouth of the oesophagus.
  • Facial bones: nose, nasal fossa, sinuses, base of the skull, orbit and infratemporal fossa.
  • Nasopharynx: region situated behind the nasal fossae and the sinuses.
  • Salivary glands: parotid, principal and accessory salivary glands.
  • Thyroid tumours.
  • Cutaneous tumours of the face and neck.
  • Sarcomas and other rare or exceptional tumours.

Care management at Institut Curie

The multidisciplinary team of the lnstitut Curie ENT-head and neck group is involved in the comprehensive treatment of patients with cancerous tumours of the face, throat, head and neck. This team will be present throughout patients’ diagnostic, treatment and follow-up phases.

Comprehensive treatment of patients with ENT cancers is based on lists of treatments shared by the doctors on the team, in accordance with the rules of good practice and international agreements (protocols). The purpose of these protocols is to treat cancer in the most effective way possible, while always keeping the patient’s quality of life in mind when making the final treatment choices. Whenever possible, we prioritise treatments that preserve the diseased organ. When surgery proves necessary, we always try to limit the after-effects of the treatments with reconstructive surgery techniques. These decisions are taken formally during a multidisciplinary consultation meeting (MCM) in which various medical specialities participate. These decisions are shared with the patient during an announcement consultation.

The multidisciplinary approach is made possible by the presence at the Institut of all specialties working in collaboration, proposing standard and innovative treatments: tumour ablation surgery, reconstructive surgery, radiotherapy (tomotherapy, IMRT), chemotherapy, targeted therapies, medical imaging, interventional radiology, anaesthetic-reanimation and supportive care.

Knowledge pooling makes it possible to bring together the technical and human resources specific to this disease, with efficient teams and a recognised place in national rankings.


Our Research

A number of clinical trials are currently underway on the various therapeutic strategies, including radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery. Immunotherapy has proven effective, and is available at Institut Curie as part of clinical trials.

Institut Curie also has the world’s largest database of ENT tumor samples. In partnership with other institutions, translational research is being carried out on this resource to get a better understanding of the mechanisms at play in the occurrence of this pathology, as well as to discover new therapeutic targets.