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Study Explores Metastatic Spread of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2019

According to research published in Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, the number of CD169-positive macrophages in the lymph nodes of patients with metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma was significantly lower than that of patients with nearby tumor-free lymph nodes. The significance of these early study findings may have clinical implications in relation to prognosis and treatment response.

“Metastatic spread of [squamous cell carcinoma] to regional lymph nodes is associated with lower abundance of CD169-positive macrophages in the [subcapsular sinuses] of draining lymph nodes,” concluded Michael C. Topf, MD, of Thomas Jefferson University, and colleagues.

The investigators analyzed lymph node tissue samples from 22 patients with squamous cell carcinoma using immunohistochemical assessments to determine the quantity of CD169-positive cells in the subcapsular sinuses. Significantly lower numbers of CD160-positive macrophages were found in the subcapsular sinuses of lymph nodes containing metastatic squamous cell carcinoma (106.5 ± 113.6 cells/mm2) than nearby nodes that were tumor-free (321.3 ± 173.4 cells/mm2; P < .001). This finding was relevant to 21 of the 22 patients evaluated. Furthermore, all six patients who eventually developed recurrent disease had a lower quantity of CD169-positive macrophages in nearby tumor-free lymph nodes (268.6 ± 169.5 cells/mm2) than similar nodes in patients who remained disease-free (341.0 ± 176.1 cells/mm2; P = .399).

In addition, patients who also tested positive for human papillomavirus (HPV; n = 4) had 6 times fewer CD169-positive cells in lymph nodes containing metastatic tumors (61.2 ± 85.5 cells/mm2) than in tumor-free lymph nodes (369.5 ± 175.5 cells/mm2; P = .028). Patients who tested negative for HPV experienced a lesser reduction in CD169-positive macrophages, with a 3-fold decrease between metastatic and tumor-free nodes (116.6 ± 118.5 cells/mm2 vs. 310.6 ± 176.2 cells/mm2; P < .001).

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at journals.sagepub.com.

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