Background: Stat3 is a member of the Janus-activated kinase/STAT signalling pathway. It normally resides in the cytoplasm and can be activated through phosphorylation. Activated Stat3 (p-Stat3) translocates to the nucleus to activate the transcription of several molecules involved in cell survival and proliferation. The constitutive activation of Stat3 has been shown in various types of malignancies, and its expression has been reported to indicate a poor prognosis. However, the correlation between the constitutive activation of Stat3 and the prognosis of cervical cancer patients has not been reported.
Methods: The immunohistochemical analysis of p-Stat3 expression was performed on tissues from 125 cervical squamous-cell carcinoma patients who underwent extended hysterectomy and pelvic lymphadenectomy, and the association of p-Stat3 expression with several clinicopathological factors and survival was investigated.
Results: Positive p-Stat3 expression was observed in 71 of 125 (56.8%) cases and was significantly correlated with lymph node metastasis, lymph vascular space invasion, and large tumour diameter (>4 cm) by Fisher's exact test. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that p-Stat3 expression was statistically indicative of a poor prognosis for overall survival (P=0.006) and disease-free survival (P=0.010) by log-rank test.
Conclusion: These data showed that p-Stat3 expression in cervical cancer acts as a predictor of poor prognosis.