Tumor-related leukocytosis is associated with poor radiation response and clinical outcome in uterine cervical cancer patients

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Abstract

Background

To evaluate response to radiation and clinical outcome of uterine cervical cancer patients with tumor-related leukocytosis (TRL) at initial diagnosis and during definitive radiotherapy.

Patients and methods

We retrospectively analyzed 2456 patients with stage IA–IVA uterine cervical cancer who received definitive radiotherapy with (37.4%) or without (62.6%) platinum-based chemotherapy between 1986 and 2012. TRL was defined as two or more occurrences of leukocytosis over 9000/μl at the time of diagnosis and during the course of treatment. Locoregional failure-free survival (LFFS) and overall survival (OS) were compared between patients with or without TRL.

Results

The median age of all patients was 55 years, and the median follow-up time was 65.1 months. TRL was observed in 398 patients (16%) at initial diagnosis; TRL (+) patients were younger and had larger tumors, advanced stage, and more frequent lymph node metastases (all P < 0.05). TRL (+) patients showed a significantly lower rate of complete remission than TRL (−) patients (89.9% versus 96.3%, respectively, P = 0.042). Ten-year LFFS and OS for all patients were 84% and 78%, respectively. LFFS and OS were significantly lower in TRL (+) patients than TRL (−) patients (10-year LFFS: 69% versus 87% respectively, P < 0.001; 10-year OS: 63% versus 81% respectively P < 0.001). After propensity score matching, LFFS and OS rates in TRL (+) patients remained significantly lower than for TRL (−) patients; this significant difference was also observed on multivariate analysis. Twenty-six percent of patients with locoregional failure (n = 345) were TRL (+) and had significantly poorer median OS (6 versus 12 months, P = 0.001).

Conclusion

This study reveals the aggressive nature of cervical cancer with TRL and its poor response to radiation therapy. Given the unfavorable prognosis and higher probability of treatment failure, optimal diagnostic and therapeutic approaches and careful monitoring for early detection of recurrence should be considered for these patients.

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