Granzyme B and Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Dentistry Today


Granzyme B (GB) is a serine protease that is synthesized by activated cytotoxic T-lymphocytes and natural killer cells; it induces apoptosis of neoplastic cells. When ex­pressed in the tumor micro­environment, GB is considered to be a favorable prognostic factor in various types of cancers in humans. A study by Costa, et al published in Oral Oncol­ogy evaluated the density of GB cells in 55 pa­tients with oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OC­SCC) and me­tastatic and nonmetastatic lymph nodes utilizing immunohistochemis­­try. The high density of GB cells demonstrated an association with the high percentage of Bax and annexin V neoplastic cells. Further, the number of peritumoral GB cells was significantly higher in the OCSCC group without lymph node metastasis, when compared with the metastatic OCSCC group. OCSCC pa­tients with a high density of peritumoral GB cells demonstrated a longer survival time when compared with pa­tients with a lower density of these cells. In lymph node tissues, the density of GB cells was significantly higher in nonmetastatic lymph nodes than in me­tastatic lymph nodes. The au­thors suggest that the in­creased expression of GB in the tumor microenvironment of OCSCC and in lymph nodes may have a beneficial effect against neoplastic cells, contributing to apoptosis of these cells and in­creased survival of patients.

Source: Oral Oncology, published online January 11, 2010, via