Increased intratumoral neutrophil in colorectal carcinomas correlates closely with malignant phenotype and predicts patients' adverse prognosis

PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30806. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030806. Epub 2012 Jan 25.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • GPI-Linked Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neutrophil Infiltration
  • Neutrophils / cytology
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Phenotype*
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Rate
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Antigens, CD
  • CEACAM8 protein, human
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • GPI-Linked Proteins