Treatment planning for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is based on the clinical TNM (Tumor, Node and Metastasis) classification. This system operates on the assumption that small tumours without clinical spread have a better prognosis than larger tumours with metastases. However, it is a well-known fact that some tumours with the same clinical staging show different growth patterns and clinical behaviour. This makes the prognosis for patients with OSCC difficult to predict on the basis of clinical staging alone. Although many histopathological characteristics of OSCC have been identified as prognostic factors, none is believed to be completely infallible. Therefore, a great need exists for more reliable prognostic markers, which will assist in treatment decisions. It is now well documented that several molecular events of significance for tumour spread, such as gain and loss of adhesion molecules, secretion of proteolytic enzymes, increased cell proliferation and initiation of angiogenesis occur at the tumour-host interface or invasive front, where the deepest and presumably most aggressive cells reside. This review describes the various molecular events and interactions, which take place in the invasive front of the OSCC, and elucidates their role as prognostic markers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine