Peritumoral cuffing by T-cell tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes distinguishes HPV-related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma from oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma

Kate Poropatich*, David Hernandez, Joel Fontanarosa, Koshonna Brown, Gayle Woloschak, Ajit Paintal, Kirtee Raparia, Sandeep Samant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: It is unclear why human papillomavirus (HPV)-related head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) has improved clinical behavior compared to HPV-negative HNSCC. We sought to better characterize the immune microenvironment of tongue cancers by examining the CD3 and CD8 TIL pattern in HPV-positive and HPV-negative tumors. Methods: Histologic sections from 40 oral tongue and oropharyngeal cases were analyzed (n=21 HPV DNA-positive, n=19 HPV DNA-negative). CD3 and CD8 T-cell immunostaining were performed on whole-slide sections to quantify tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) density and assess its morphology. Results: A subset of cases (HPV-positive) displayed a unique TIL pattern consisting of circumferential peritumoral population T cells, which was absent in the HPV-negative cases. The presence of peritumoral cuffing was strongly predictive of improved recurrence-free survival compared to cases that lacked this morphologic pattern of immune infiltrate. Four HPV-positive cases lacked the pattern, including two cases with disease recurrence. Conclusions: For the first time, we show an architectural pattern of immune infiltrate in HNSCC is seen exclusively in HPV-positive patients with improved recurrence-free survival and suggests an organized host immunological response contributes to disease control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)972-978
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Oral Pathology and Medicine
Volume46
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Keywords

  • tongue SCC
  • tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Cancer Research
  • Periodontics

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