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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