The prognostic value of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and lymphocytic host response (LHR) in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMD) remains controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the prognostic value of TIL and LHR levels in OSCC and explore the LHR role in the development of oral cancer by assessing the association of LHR patterns in OPMD and OSCC.
Methods: This study examined 40 OSCC and 19 OPMD Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) tissues from Malaysian Oral Cancer Database and Tissue Bank System (MOCDTBS) coordinated by Oral Cancer Research and Coordinating Centre, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya (OCRCC-UM). The predictor variables were the TIL level and LHR pattern. The main outcome assessment parameter was overall survival.
Result: Nineteen (19) OSCC tissues (47.5%) showed high level of TIL, eleven (11) OSCC tissues (27.5%) and three (3) OPMD tissues (15.8%) showed strong LHR pattern. Strong and intermediate LHR profile is associated with OSCC (p<0.01) in comparison to OPMD. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that both strong LHR and high TIL were prognostic factors for overall survival (p=0.020 and p=0.014 respectively)
Conclusion: Both LHR and TIL showed its potential as prognostic indicators for OSCC in this study. However, their role as independent prognostic indicators is yet to be shown in this preliminary study, thus recommending future studies to explore this aspect of research with a larger sample size.