Oral cancer is the most common malignancy of the head and neck region, characterized by a poor prognosis. Novel prognostic markers are needed to better stratify these patients. Lymphovascular invasion (LVI) has been included in the eighth edition of the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual as an additional prognostic factor, but its influence on the recurrence risk and lymph node metastasis is relatively understudied. This is a comprehensive review of the literature on the clinical and prognostic role of LVI in oral cancer. A relevant search of the PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science databases yielded 29 articles that satisfied the inclusion criteria. Findings indicated that LVI is an independent negative prognostic factor in oral cancer patients and appears to be associated with cervical lymph node metastasis and loco-regional recurrence. Notably, in oral tongue cancer, survival outcomes progressively worsen when LVI is associated with other adverse pathological features, especially in the early stages. Therefore, these patients could benefit from elective neck dissection and/or adjuvant therapy. The high variability of LVI prevalence hinders the comparison of literature results. Several methodological limitations were found to be present in the collected articles, including the lack of a rigorous definition for LVI, the difficult detection in routine histological section, the presence of potential confounders, the retrospective nature, and an inadequate sample size in most studies. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct prognostic studies using standardized methods to define and quantify LVI.
Lymphovascular invasion as a prognostic tool for oral squamous cell carcinoma: a comprehensive review / Mascitti, M.; Togni, L.; Caponio, V. C. A.; Zhurakivska, K.; Bizzoca, M. E.; Contaldo, M.; Serpico, R.; Lo Muzio, L.; Santarelli, A.. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY. - ISSN 0901-5027. - 51:1(2022), pp. 1-9. [10.1016/j.ijom.2021.03.007]