The presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) in the tumor microenvironment has been demonstrated to be of prognostic value in various cancers. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we investigated the prognostic value of TIL in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC). We performed a systematic search in PubMed for publications that investigated the prognostic value of TIL in LSCC. A meta-analysis was performed including all studies assessing the association between TIL counts in hematoxylin-eosin (HE)-stained sections, for CD8+ and/or CD3+/CD4+ TIL and overall survival (OS) or disease-free survival (DFS). The pooled meta-analysis showed a favorable prognostic role for stromal TIL in HE sections for OS (HR 0.57, 95% CI 0.36-0.91, p = 0.02), and for DFS (HR 0.56, 95% CI 0.34-0.94, p = 0.03). High CD8+ TIL were associated with a prolonged OS (HR 0.62, 95% CI 0.4-0.97, p = 0.04) and DFS (HR 0.73, 95% CI 0.34-0.94, p = 0.002). High CD3+/CD4+ TIL demonstrated improved OS (HR 0.32, 95% CI 0.16-0.9, p = 0.03) and DFS (HR 0.23, 95% CI 0.10-0.53, p = 0.0005). This meta-analysis confirmed the favorable prognostic significance of TIL in LSCC. High stromal TIL evaluated in HE sections and intra-tumoral and stromal CD3+, CD4+ and/or CD8+ TIL might predict a better clinical outcome.
Keywords: larynx; prognosis; squamous cell carcinoma; tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes.