Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) accounts for more than 95% of all malignancies involving the oral cavity, and often these tumors are preceded by clinical alterations that have a clear potential for malignant transformation, which are denominated oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMDs). Among these, proliferative verrucous leukoplakia (PVL) is characterized by multiple white plaques that present a persistent and progressive clinical behavior for malignancy, with malignant transformation rates greater than 70% and an inadequate response to all treatment modalities. Recent studies have described that PVL, particularly in the early stages of the disease, can microscopically reveal an inflammatory infiltrate with a predominance of T-lymphocytes in the lamina propria with absence of dysplasia, similar to the histopathological findings found in oral lichen planus (OLP), compromising early diagnosis of PVL. In addition, preliminary data obtained by our group suggest that the inflammatory infiltrate associated with PVL is related to the etiology and/or aggressive clinical behavior of this OPMD. Thus, this study aims to perform a comparative analysis between OLP and PVL samples: (1) evaluating the density of the helper, cytotoxic and B-cell lymphocytes in the intraepithelial and conjunctival LPO samples and in the LVP; and (2) to assess the activation status of the helper and cytotoxic T lymphocyte subtypes in OLP and LVP.
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