Background: Oral squamous cell carcinoma develops through a multistep of genetic mutations, and the process can be morphologically recognized as oral epithelial dysplasia. To evaluate the hypothesis that distributional alterations of proliferating and stem cells may be a useful index to estimate the grading and development of epithelial dysplasia, we examined the distribution patterns according to stratified cell layers.
Methods: Sixty-two oral dysplasia cases according to the histological grades were immunohistologically examined and the nuclear expression of Ki-67 and p63 antigens was counted according to epithelial layers as labeling index.
Results: The Ki-67 labeling index in the basal and suprabasal layers and that of p63 in the basal layer showed a significant difference between low- and high-grade groups of epithelial dysplasia.
Conclusion: The architectural alteration of proliferating cell and stem cell distribution in the layers of epithelial dysplasias may provide useful information to evaluate the grading of oral epithelial dysplasias.