Lymphatic vessel density (LVD) for the evaluation of tumor metastasis and prognosis remains controversial. The aim of this study was to elucidate the association between tumor cells and lymphatic vessels, and evaluate LVD in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).
128 OSCC cases were used to determine the expression of lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor 1 (LYVE-1) and vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C). Mann-Whitney or Kruskal-Wallis tests were employed to analyze the association between clinicopathological data and intratumoral LVD (ILVD), peritumoral LVD (PLVD), and VEGF-C; comparisons between ILVD and PLVD were made with t-test. Correlations between LVD and VEGF-C were analyzed by Spearman’s correlation coefficient. Disease-specific survival curves were obtained with Kaplan-Meier method and compared using the log-rank test. Cox multiple regression was used to clarify the independent effect of clinicopathological data on clinical outcome.
Tumor tissues were positively stained with LYVE-1 and VEGF-C. Both tumor metastasis and recurrence were associated with ILVD. A significant association between ILVD and VEGF-C expression was observed (P < 0.05). A significant association between high ILVD and poor disease-specific survival was observed (P < 0.05).
This study showed that ILVD was significantly associated with increased lymphatic metastasis, tumor recurrence, and reduced disease-specific survival in patients with OSCC. ILVD could be an indicator to predict the prognosis of OSCC.

Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.