Expression of CD163, interleukin-10, and interferon-gamma in oral squamous cell carcinoma: mutual relationships and prognostic implications

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Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and their associated inflammatory cytokines represent the major inflammatory component of the stroma of many tumors and can affect prognosis in the case of neoplasms. The objective of this study was to determine the prognostic significance of CD163+ cells, interleukin-10 (IL-10), and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) in oral lesions associated with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). The levels of CD163, IFN-γ, and IL-10 in the tissue samples of 240 patients with OSCC and 58 patients with other oral lesions were assessed by immunohistochemistry. Individuals with low IFN-γ levels, high IL-10 levels, and low CD163 levels were of special concern with respect to OSCC progression. We found that high levels of CD163, or a combination of low IFN-γ levels, high IL-10 levels, and low CD163 levels, were associated with poorer overall survival (OS). CD163+ cells provide better predictive power for OS in comparison with traditional markers, such as clinical stage and lymph node metastasis. Therefore, CD163+ cells may be effective prognostic predictors of OSCC. IL-10 may also indicate poor outcomes when IFN-γ secretion is low and the cells are CD163−.

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