Evaluation of myofibroblasts in oral epithelial dysplasia and squamous cell carcinoma
Background: Carcinogenesis is accompanied by a number of changes in the adjacent stroma including the appearance of myofibroblasts. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the presence of myofibroblasts in normal mucosa, oral epithelial dysplasia, and different grades of oral squamous cell carcinoma. Methods: The study sample consisted of three groups, including 40 oral squamous cell carcinomas, 15 dysplasias, and 15 sections of normal oral epithelium. Vimentin, desmin, and alpha-smooth muscle actin were used to identify myofibroblasts. Results: The percentage and intensity of alpha-smooth muscle actin were examined, and positive immunostaining was observed in the myofibroblasts of all squamous cell carcinomas; however these cells did not stain in the dysplasias or normal epithelium specimens. The presence of myofibroblasts was significantly higher in oral squamous cell carcinomas compared to both, dysplasias and normal mucosa cases (P < 0.001). A significant difference was not observed between the different grades of oral squamous cell carcinoma (P = 0.2). Conclusions: These findings show the presence of myofibroblasts in the stroma of oral squamous cell carcinoma but not dysplasia and normal mucosa, suggesting further investigation to clarify the role of myofibroblasts in the carcinogenesis of this tumor.