Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes in Patients With Advanced Laryngeal Cancer Undergoing Bioselection

Molly E. Heft Neal, Joshua D. Smith, Andrew C. Birkeland, Catherine T. Haring, Steven B. Chinn, Andrew G. Shuman, Keith A. Casper, Kelly M. Malloy, Chaz L. Stucken, Scott A. Mclean, Andrew J. Rosko, Michelle L. Mierzwa, Jennifer Shah, Caitlin Schonewolf, Paul L. Swiecicki, Francis P. Worden, Gregory T. Wolf, Carol R. Bradford, Mark E.P. Prince, J. Chad BrennerMatthew E. Spector

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Bioselection to assess tumor response after induction chemotherapy has been introduced as an alternative treatment strategy to total laryngectomy for patients with advanced larynx squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC). Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) have proven to serve as prognostic biomarkers in head and neck cancer but have not been evaluated as a way to select patients for treatment paradigms. The aim of this study is to evaluate the role of pretreatment TILs in patients with advanced LSCC undergoing the bioselection paradigm. Study Design: Retrospective study. Setting: Tertiary care hospital. Methods: Patients with advanced LSCC treated with bioselection and available tissue were included (N = 76). Patients were stratified into CD8-low and CD8-high cohorts by using the median TIL count. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and multivariate cox regression were performed with SPSS version 26 (IBM). Results: After controlling for tobacco use, tumor site, and stage, a high CD8 TIL count was an independent predictor of improved 5-year disease-specific survival (hazard ratio, 0.17 [95% CI, 0.03-0.84]; P =.03). CD8 TIL counts did not predict response to induction chemotherapy; however, subgroup analysis of patients treated with chemoradiation therapy revealed that CD8 TIL count was significantly associated with degree of response (P =.012). Conclusion: These findings support prior data published by our group showing that TILs are predictive of disease-specific survival in patients with head and neck cancer. CD8 TIL counts were significantly associated with degree of clinical response after induction chemotherapy. These results suggest that pretreatment assessment of tumor-infiltrating CD8 cells could be useful in selecting patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • induction selection
  • larynx cancer
  • tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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