Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, particularly the balance between CD8(+) T cells and CCR4(+) regulatory T cells, affect the survival of patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma

Yoshiko Watanabe, Fuminori Katou, Haruo Ohtani, Takashi Nakayama, Osamu Yoshie, Kenji Hashimoto
Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, and Endodontics 2010, 109 (5): 744-52

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to clarify the prognostic significance of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC); the present study analyzed various TIL-related parameters.

STUDY DESIGN: Immunohistochemistry was performed in 87 patients with OSCC for the following TIL-related parameters: nest-CD8(+) T cells, stromal CD8(+) T cells, CD4(+) T cells, total regulatory T cells (Tregs), CCR4(+) Tregs, ratio of nest CD8(+) T cells/CCR4(+) Tregs, and ratio of stromal CD8(+) T cells/CCR4(+) Tregs.

RESULTS: In univariate analyses, the following parameters were associated with decreased survival: few nest- and stromal CD8(+) T cells and more stromal CCR4(+) Tregs, but not total Tregs. Low ratios of nest and stromal CD8(+) T cell/CCR4(+) Treg were associated with worse survival. In multivariate analysis, the stromal CD8(+) T cell/CCR4(+) Treg ratio was an independent prognostic factor.

CONCLUSION: Host immune responses in the stroma of OSCC affect the survival of the patients. The in situ balance between effector T cells and regulatory T cells is the most important factor predicting survival.

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