Introduction: Radiation, commonly employed as neoadjuvant, primary, and adjuvant therapy for head and neck cancer causes numerous epithelial and stromal changes, prominent among which is fibrosis with its early and late consequences. Very little is known about the true nature of the fibrosed tissue and the type of fibers accumulated. Radiotherapy affects the supporting tumor stroma often resulting in a worsening grade of tumor post-radiation. Aim: To study epithelial, neoplastic, stromal, and glandular changes in oral cavity induced by radiation therapy for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) using special stains. Materials and Methods: The study included 27 samples of recurrent OSCC following completion of radiotherapy (recurrence within an average span of 11 months), and 26 non-irradiated cases of OSCC. Patients with a history of combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy were not included in the study. The epithelial changes assessed included epithelial atrophy, apoptosis, necrosis, dysplasia, and neoplasia. The connective tissue was evaluated for amount of fibrosis, quality of fibers (using picrosirius red staining), fibrinous exudate, necrosis, pattern of invasion, vessel wall thickening, and salivary gland changes. The aforementioned changes were assessed using light and polarizing microscopy and tabulated. Statistical Analysis: Epithelial and connective tissue parameters were compared between the irradiated and non-irradiated cases using chi square and t-tests. Results: Epithelial and connective tissue parameters were found to be increased in irradiated patients. Pattern of invasion by tumor cells varied from strands and cords between the two groups studied. The effect of radiation was seen to reflect on the maturity of fibers and the regularity of their distribution.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research