Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) has distinct histopathology and associated with high mortality rate. Identification of NPC cases that have aggressive behavior at an early-stage can aid in improvement of the survival. Assessment of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) has shown a promising prognostic value in many epithelial cancers.
This study included a multicenter cohort of 44 cases treated for early-stage (I-II) NPC at the five Finnish university hospitals (Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, Kuopio and Oulu). Hematoxylin and eosin-stained cancer sections were used to evaluate TILs. We followed the guidelines that recently introduced by International Immuno-Oncology Biomarkers Working Group for assessment of TILs in different tumors including head and neck cancer.
The score of intra-tumoral TILs showed a promising prognostic value for predicting survival in early NPC. A hazard ratio of 2.45 and 95% confidence interval of 1.07 to 5.62 (P = 0.03) was reported, indicates that tumors with low TILs have a higher risk of mortality.
In early-stage of NPC, assessment of TILs has a significant prognostic value that can be useful to identify cases with aggressive behavior. Further studies are necessary to validate the importance of TILs in larger cohorts of early NPC.
Clinical trial identification
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The author has declared no conflicts of interest.