Background. The role of angiogenesis and inflammatory cell response in predicting disease outcome was evaluated in various malignant tumors. However, the data relating to cervical cancer remains equivocal. This study evaluates the prognostic significance of microvessel counts and peritumoral macrophage infiltrates in squamous cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix. Methods. Seventy-five cervical squamous cell carcinomas were stained immunohistochemically by two endothelial markers- anti-CD31 and Ulex Europaeus lectin I(UEA-I), and the macrophage- specific marker anti-CD68. Microvessel and macrophage counts were performed using a grid at X200 and X400 magnification, respectively, in areas of maximal density ('hot spots'). Five fields were scanned. Microvessel counts were correlated with macrophage density, and both were correlated with patient age, tumor stage, histological grade, and survival. Results. Microvessel counts were comparable for ulex lectin (mean 6.8 ± 4.8/field) and CD31 (8.7 ± 5.3/field), and results by both markers correlated (p < 0.001). Counts by both markers correlated with tumor stage, being higher in stages Ib-II compared to stage III-IV tumors (p < 0.05). No correlation with age, grade, or survival was found. Macrophage counts (mean 13.1 ± 12.3 cells/field) did not correlate with any of the clinical parameters studied or with microvessel counts. Conclusions. Microvessel counts and macrophage density do not correlate with survival in cervical cancer. Neither do they appear to be inter-related. The association between elevated microvessel counts and localized disease may reflect peak angiogenic stimuli by neoplastic cells. We hypothesize that the beneficial role of macrophages in cellular immunity may be opposed by the elaboration of growth factors in the vicinity of neoplastic cells.
- Cervical cancer
- Microvessel counts