Objective Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide, and immune function may impact disease progression. Serum markers may also be associated with diagnosis and progression. The aim of this study was to explore the clinical usefulness of determining the levels of peripheral blood immune cells and serum tumor markers in predicting diagnosis and prognosis of patients with cervical cancer.
Methods 82 patients with cervical cancer (early stage group: IA–IB1 and IIA1; locally advanced group: IB2 and IIA2), 54 patients with cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN), and 54 healthy women (control group) were recruited. Inclusion criteria were: (1) patients whose cervical lesions were determined based on biopsy; and (2) patients who had not undergone immunotherapy, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy. The exclusion criteria were as follows: (1) patients with a history of other malignant tumors; (2) patients with heart, kidney, and other organ failure; (3) patients with immune diseases; and (4) pregnant or lactating women. The levels of immunocytes and tumor markers were assayed. The relationships among histopathologic factors were analyzed. The correlation between the levels of immunocytes and tumor markers in patients with different degrees of cervical lesions (pre-invasive or cancer) and healthy women was evaluated.
Results The squamous cell carcinoma antigen and carcinoembryonic antigen levels in the control group and the CIN group were significantly lower than those in the cervical cancer groups (p<0.01). The incidence of lymph node metastasis in the early stage and locally advanced groups were 22.9% (11/48) and 46.2% (12/26), respectively, and 58.8% (20/34) and 7.5% (3/37) in the positive and negative lymphovascular invasion groups, respectively (p<0.05). The levels of CD8+ and CD8+ CD28+ T cells in the early stage group were markedly lower than those in the CIN group and the control group (p=0.014, p=0.008, respectively). The ratio of CD4+CD25+/CD4+ in the cervical cancer groups was significantly higher than in the control group (p<0.01). The increased serum squamous cell carcinoma and carcinoembryonic antigen levels and CD4+CD25+/CD4+ ratio were risk factors for cervical cancer by logistic regression analysis (p<0.05).
Conclusions In patients with cervical cancer, immune function was impaired compared with that in healthy women and patients with CIN, while squamous cell carcinoma and carcinoembryonic antigen levels were increased. Combined detection of the levels of peripheral blood immune cells and serum tumor markers may be helpful for early detection, diagnosis, and prognosis evaluation of patients with cervical cancer.
- cervical cancer
- lymphatic metastasis
- neoplasm invasiveness
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Contributors YS formulated the research protocol and guided the work. LZ collected and analyzed the data for this study and wrote the article, and is the first author. HZ and YH collected the data for this study. XX guided the work.
Funding This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (grant: 81772768). The content only expresses the author's views and is not the responsibility of the NSFC.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval The hospital ethics committee approved this study.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. All data, models, or code generated or used during the study are available from the corresponding author by request, such as revalidation of data reliability.