Background: Substantial evidence suggests that the presence of inflammatory cells plays a critical role in the development and/or progression of human tumors. Neutrophils are the common inflammatory cells in tumors; however, the infiltration of intratumoral neutrophils in colorectal carcinoma (CRC) and its effect on CRC patients' prognosis are poorly understood.
Methodology/principal findings: In this study, the methods of tissue microarray and immunohistochemistry (IHC) were used to investigate the prognostic significance of intratumoral CD66b+ neutrophil in CRC. According to receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, the cutoff score for high intratumoral CD66b+ neutrophil in CRC was defined when the mean counts were more than 60 per TMA spot. In our study, high intratumoral CD66b+ neutrophil was observed in 104/229 (45.4%) of CRCs and in 29/229 (12.7%) of adjacent mucosal tissues. Further correlation analysis showed that high intratumoral neutrophil was positively correlated with pT status, pM status and clinical stage (P<0.05). In univariate survival analysis, a significant association between high intratumoral neutrophil and shortened patients' survival was found (P<0.0001). In different subsets of CRC patients, intratumoral neutrophil was also a prognostic indicator in patients with stage II, stage III, grade 2, grade 3, pT1, pT2, pN0 and pN1 (P<0.05). Importantly, high intratumoral neutrophil was evaluated as an independent prognostic factor in multivariate analysis (P<0.05).
Conclusions/significance: Our results provide evidence that increased intratumoral neutrophil in CRC may be important in the acquisition of a malignant phenotype, indicating that the presence of intratumoral neutrophil is an independent factor for poor prognosis of patients with CRC.