Immune correlates of therapy outcomes in women with cervical cancer treated with chemoradiotherapy: A systematic review

David S. Lakomy, Juliana Wu, Dorothy Lombe, Emmanouil Papasavvas, Susan Citonje Msadabwe, Yimin Geng, Luis J. Montaner, Elizabeth Chiao, Lilie L. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Immune markers have been correlated with prognosis in a variety of solid tumors, including cervical cancer. Objective: To review the literature on hematologic and immune markers and their association with recurrence and survival among patients with cervical cancer treated with chemoradiation. Evidence review: This systematic review was conducted in accordance with PRISMA guidelines via searches of Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, and the Cochrane Library using keywords regarding cervical cancer, immune markers, and HIV. Studies involving patients treated with cisplatin-based chemoradiotherapy were selected and reviewed by at least two independent reviewers, with disagreements resolved by a third reviewer. Findings: A total of 737 studies were identified, of which 314 assessed immune biomarkers in immunocompetent patients (30 included in the final analysis) and 327 studies in immunosuppressed patients (5 included in the final analysis). The strongest prognostic indicators were lymphopenia and elevated neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio. Other potential markers included HPV-specific lymphocyte response, cytokine profile, expression of immune-blocking antigens on cell surfaces, and tumor-associated lymphocyte, macrophage, and neutrophil infiltration. Studies of immunosuppressed patients described more severe cytopenic changes overall and concluded that viral suppression led to improved outcomes. Conclusions: The immunologic interplay at work in cervical cancer development, progression, and treatment is complex. Strong evidence was found in favor of lymphopenia and elevated neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio being prognostic for worse outcomes with other markers showing potential associations as well. Although the interpretation of immune status with regard to treatment approach remains unclear, future studies should aim to tailor treatment that minimizes possible detrimental immune effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4206-4220
Number of pages15
JournalCancer medicine
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • HIV
  • biomarkers
  • cervical cancer
  • immune exhaustion
  • immunologic factors
  • lymphocytes
  • prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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