Objectives: Induction chemotherapy (IC) is occasionally used in head and neck cancer, leading to less extensive surgery and reduced need for irradiation. Factors predicting the response to IC have not been determined. In this study, we investigated the clinical and histopathologic factors that predict the response to IC.
Methods: Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas from 81 patients were analyzed; clinical factors, histologic parameters, and expression of p16 and p53 were correlated with response to chemotherapy and prognosis.
Results: Factors predicting a good response to IC were the nonoropharyngeal localization, a rich lymphocytic tissue response, and a low platelet-to-lymphocyte blood ratio before treatment. Response to IC did not correlate with prognosis, whereas a low neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), the absence of a desmoplastic reaction, a rich lymphocytic tissue response, and the overexpression of p53 were associated with better prognosis.
Conclusions: Lymphocytic tissue response, NLR, and nonoropharyngeal localization are factors predictive of response to IC.