Background: Several previous studies have identified a strong association between T-cell infiltration and clinical outcome in ovarian cancer. The role of B-cells remains controversial, however.
Methods: Forty-nine paraffin-embedded omental specimens derived from patients with high grade epithelial ovarian cancer were assessed. Immunohistochemical analyses were performed to characterize expression of CD19(+) B-cells and pSTAT3 as high (>50% positively staining cells [PSCs]) or low (<50% PSCs). The Kaplan-Meier method with log-rank test was used to determine the association between clinicopathologic parameters and overall survival (OS). A multi-variate Cox proportional hazards regression analysis including nature of debulking (primary vs secondary), histology, tumor grade, receipt of prior chemotherapy, B-cell infiltration and pSTAT3 expression was performed.
Results: Median OS was 160.6 months in those patients with low B-cell expression vs 47.3 months in those with high B-cell expression (P = 0.0015). Similarly, median OS was improved in those patients with low pSTAT3 expression (160.6 vs 47.9 months, P = 0.02). In a multivariate model to predict survival, only the degree of B-cell infiltration and clinical stage were retained. pSTAT3 expression did not enter the final model, possibly be due to a high positive correlation with B-cell infiltration (r = 0.82, P<0.0001).
Conclusions: Increased B-cell infiltration and pSTAT3 expression in omental tissue are associated with poorer survival.