Various studies have demonstrated that the lymphatic system is the additional route for solid tumor metastasis. Lymph nodes metastasis in Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a major prognostic indicator for disease progression and a guide for therapeutic strategies. We conducted a study to compare intratumoral (IT) and peritumoral (PT) lymphatic vessel density (LVD) in HNSCC using lymphatic marker D2-40 and its correlation with lymph node metastasis, histological grading and other clinicopathological parameters. Fifty specimen of HNSCC with modified radical neck dissection tissue were included in the study group. Tissue from tumor, peritumoral tissue, tumor margin and all the lymph nodes were processed for paraffin wax blocks and histopathological diagnosis. Immunohistochemical profile of lymphatic vessels in intratumoral and peritumoral tissue was assessed by subjecting one section each from the tumor and peritumoral tissue to D2-40 immunostain. To determine LVD, four fields with the highest LVD (hot spots) were identified. The mean values were calculated by taking an average of all the measurements. The comparison of LVD between peritumoral and intratumoral area revealed significantly higher PT-LVD (P = 0.001). No significant association was seen between LVD, IT-LVD and PT-LVD and different age groups, gender, site of tumor, risk factors, size of tumor, tumor inflammation, pushing/infiltrating margin and stage of tumors. Significantly higher LVD, IT-LVD and PT-LVD was seen in association with lymph node metastasis. Both high intratumoral and peritumoral LVD were found significantly associated with the presence of lymph node metastasis, however lymphatic vessels were found to be significantly more numerous and larger in peritumoral areas as compared to intratumoral lymphatics. The specificity of D2-40 as a lymphatic endothelial marker was also confirmed. The results of our study support the possibility of using the determination of tumor lymphangiogenesis to identify patients of HNSCC who are at risk of developing the lymph node metastasis.
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma Lymphatic vessel density Peritumoral Intratumoral Lymphangiogenesis D2-40 immunostain
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Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors state that there are no conflicts of interests.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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