Cervical cancer is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in women. The presence of macrophages as well as other inflammatory cells has been noted in many of these tumors. Intratumoral macrophages/monocytes induce anergy to cytokine therapy and cause apoptosis in natural killer(NK) and T cells. The aim of this study was to better evaluate and quantify the presence of macrophages in these tumors. Twenty-four cases of squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix seen at our institution were evaluated. Sections were stained with CD68, a marker for macrophages. Staining was graded microscopically by two reviewers together on a scale of 0–4+, with 4+ representing the greatest number of positive cells. Image analysis was conducted to quantify the percent area stained in a given lesion. For each lesion, 10 fields were evaluated, and a mean percentage area stained was calculated. 4+ staining was observed in five cases, 3+ in zero cases, 2+ in three cases, 1+ in six cases, 1–2+ in one case, and nine cases were negative. Image analysis results correlated well with the light microscopic scoring. Presence of a prominent infiltrate of macrophages did not correlate with tumor grade or with histologic lymph node status, but showed a strong negative correlation with tumor stage. Some squamous cell carcinomas of the cervix show a prominent macrophage component in the tumor-associated inflammatory infiltrate. The presence of this prominent infiltration of macrophages did not correlate with tumor grade or lymph node status, but showed a strong negative correlation with tumor stage. The results suggest that immunotherapy may have a potential role in the treatment of cervical carcinoma. Computerized image analysis appears to be a valid measure to assess macrophage counts in such lesions.
- cervical neoplasms
- squamous cell carcinoma
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This work was supported by a generous grant from MAXIM Pharmaceuticals, San Diego, CA.