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Circulating neutrophils may play a role in the host response in cervical cancer
  1. P. C. Fernandes*,
  2. C. B. Garcia,
  3. D. C. Micheli,
  4. F. Q. Cunha,
  5. E. F.C. Murta* and
  6. B. M. Tavares-Murta
  1. * Research Institute of Oncology (IPON)/Discipline of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and
  2. Department of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro, Uberaba-MG, Brazil; and
  3. Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto-SP, Brazil
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Beatriz M. Tavares-Murta, MD, PhD, Department of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro, Praça Manoel Terra 330, 38015-050 Uberaba-MG, Brazil. Email: bmurtafarmaco{at}


Neutrophil migration is a key event in the inflammatory response of any origin, and neutrophils may present antitumor activity. We investigated the number and function of circulating neutrophils obtained from patients with cervical neoplasia at different stages. Patients with preinvasive (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, CIN3, n= 6) or microinvasive ([MICRO] stage IA1, n= 4) neoplasia were evaluated together as CIN/MICRO group (n= 10), while patients at stages II–IV were evaluated as invasive group (INV, n= 12). Healthy women served as controls (n= 15). For patients, analysis of leukogram on diagnosis showed a significant elevated neutrophil count in INV group compared with that in CIN/MICRO group. A neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio ≥5 was observed in 67% patients from INV group compared with only 10% from CIN/MICRO group. Neutrophil migration, assayed in a microchemotaxis chamber in response to the chemoattractants (10−7 M) N-formyl-L-methionyl-l-leucyl-l-phenylalanine, leukotriene B4, or interleukin-8, was reduced in INV group than in controls or CIN/MICRO group. Surgical treatment in randomly selected patients from CIN/MICRO group (four CIN, one MICRO) increased neutrophil migration to all chemoattractants compared with time on diagnosis. The serum levels of nitric oxide (NO) metabolites, assayed by the Griess reaction, were higher in patients (n= 19) than in controls (n= 15), without differences related to tumor stage, but were reduced in patients after surgery compared with pretreatment (n= 10). Taken together, the results suggest that neutrophils play a role in the host response in cervical cancer. Soluble circulating mediators released by tumor cells, such as NO, could interfere early in the capacity of neutrophils to migrate, thus impairing host immune response.

  • cervical neoplasia
  • neutrophil
  • neutrophil migration
  • nitric oxide
  • tumor stage

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