Objectives: Secondary oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a late complication in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) patients, but little is known about long-term outcomes and prognostication. Additionally, molecular alterations and immunologic insights unique to this disease remain largely unexplored.
Methods: We present a cohort of 31 patients with post-HSCT OSCC and reported on clinicopathologic predictors of survival. Whole-exome sequencing was performed on 6 (19%) matched pairs of peripheral blood (post-conditioning, pre-HSCT) and tumor samples. The entire cohort had archival tumor available for immunoprofiling with PD-1/L1 immunohistochemistry.
Results: Five-year overall survival (OS) was 57% (95% CI: 46.1-69.8) with a median disease-free survival (DFS) of 13.3 months. Advanced initial staging, a buccal or oral tongue subsite, chronic oral graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and smoking all negatively impacted survival. High tumor mutational burden (TMB) (median 11.3 vs. 5.0) and unique mutational signatures were noted between unrelated and related donor groups - with a strong correlation between infiltrating PD-1+ lymphocytes and TMB (R = 0.98, p < 0.01). Some differences were observed when comparing commonly mutated genes among our cohort and TCGA, with a predominance of TP53 events.
Conclusion: Survival outcomes appear similar in HSCT survivors with OSCC compared with non-HSCT OSCC populations. We identified somatic alterations in genes with therapeutic potential unique to this subpopulation of oral cancers.
Keywords: Bone marrow transplantation; Genomics; Immunology; Oral cancer; Outcomes.
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