Background Accurate prediction of the behaviour of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is necessary to determine prognosis and provide appropriate treatment. Therefore, it is important to investigate potential prognostic markers to determine their predictive ability. Histological assessment of specific features at the invading front of oral squamous cell carcinomas has shown to provide accurate and reproducible prognostic information. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) is a nuclear marker known to reflect cell turnover and may be used as a marker for tumour aggressiveness.MethodsTwenty cases of OSCC were histologically assessed to evaluate the correlation between proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression and invasive front grading. Each case was first assessed on a haematoxylin and eosin stained slide and an invading front grading (IFG) score was determined. In order to obtain a PCNA score, immunohistological staining was carried out using the peroxidase-labelled streptavidin-biotin technique with the monoclonal antibody PC10.ResultsIn all cases, tumour islands had a periphery of intensely stained proliferating cell nuclear antigen-positive epithelial cells. The average IFG score was 8 ± 1.8, and the average PCNA score was 75% ± 11.2. Regression analysis was done using data from the IFG score and PCNA score and taking the latter as the predictor variable. The Pearson correlation coefficient was 0.134, with a p-value of 0.572.ConclusionSince the correlation between PCNA score and IFG score was not significant (p > 0.05), we conclude that there is no association between cell proliferation at the invading tumour front and the histological grading of OSCC.