PURPOSE: This study was carried out to confirm clinical values and limitations of postoperative radiotherapy for hypopharyngeal carcinoma, to evaluate various prognostic factors which may affect to the treatment results and to use these results as fundamental data for making a new treatment strategy. METHODS AND MATERIALS: A retrospective analysis was performed on 64 previously untreated patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the hypopharynx, seen between 1988 and 1999 at Pusan National University Hospital. Most of patients were treated by laryngopharyngectomy and neck dissection followed by conventional fractionated postoperative radiotherapy on surgical bed and cervical nodal areas. RESULTS: The five-year overall survival rate and cause-specific survival rate were 42.2 percent and 51.6 percent, respectively. Univariate analysis of various clinical and pathologic factors confirmed the overall stage, TN-stage, secondary primary cancers, surgical positive margin, nodal extracapsular extension, total radiation doses as significant prognostic factors of hypopharyngeal carcinomas. But in multivariate analysis, TN-stage, surgical positive margin and extracapsular extesion were only statistically significant. CONCLUSION: In resectable cases of hypopharyngeal carcinoma, combined surgery and postoperative radiotherapy obtained good treatement results, even though sacrificing the function of larynx and pharynx. But in advanced and unresectable cases, with respect to survivals and quality of life issues, we were able to confirm some limitations of combined therapy. So we recommend that comparative studies of recent various chemo-radiotherapy methods and advanced radiotherapy techniques with these data should be needed.