The relationship between tumour T-lymphocyte infiltration, the systemic inflammatory response and survival in patients undergoing curative resection for colorectal cancer

Br J Cancer. 2005 Feb 28;92(4):651-4. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6602419.


There is increasing evidence that both local and systemic inflammatory responses play an important role in the progression of a variety of common solid tumours. The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between tumour T-lymphocyte subset infiltration, the systemic inflammatory response and cancer-specific survival in patients with colorectal cancer. In all, 147 patients undergoing potentially curative resection for colorectal cancer were studied. Circulating concentrations of C-reactive protein were measured prior to surgery. CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocyte infiltration of the tumour was assessed using immunohistochemistry and a point counting technique. When patients were grouped according to the percentage tumour volume of CD4+ T-lymphocytes, there was no difference in terms of age, sex, tumour site, stage and tumour characteristics. However, there was an inverse relationship between percentage tumour CD4+ T-lymphocytes and C-reactive protein (P<0.01). On univariate analysis, both C-reactive protein concentrations (P<0.001) and percentage tumour volume of CD4+ (P<0.05) T-lymphocytes were associated with cancer-specific survival. The results of the present study show that low tumour CD4+ T-lymphocyte infiltration is associated with elevated C-reactive protein concentrations and both predict poor cancer-specific survival.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / blood
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Survival Analysis
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / blood
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / immunology*
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / mortality
  • T-Lymphocytes*


  • C-Reactive Protein