Background: The aim of this study was to determine whether tumor-associated immune cells may predict response to therapy and disease outcome in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients receiving induction chemotherapy and cetuximab. Methods: Paraffin-embedded pretreatment biopsy samples from 45 patients with stage III-IV resectable HNSCC were investigated retrospectively by immunohistochemistry for density of different immune cell types based on expression of CD8, FOXP3, CD134, CD137, PD-1, CD20, NKp46, dendritic cell lysosomal-associated membrane protein (DC-LAMP), CD16, CD68, and myeloperoxidase. Results were analyzed for possible correlations with clinicopathologic parameters, response to therapy, and survival. Results: Of the immune cell types studied, we found significant association with response to induction chemotherapy only in the case of DC-LAMP + mature dendritic cells and PD-1 + lymphocytes; density of DC-LAMP + cells also correlated with progression-free survival. Conclusion: DC-LAMP + mature dendritic cells and PD-1 + cells may be implicated in response to induction chemotherapy and cetuximab in HNSCC patients.
- head and neck cancer
- induction chemotherapy
- predictive markers
- tumor-infiltrating immune cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas