Clinical value of serum biomarkers, squamous cell carcinoma antigen and apolipoprotein C-II in follow-up of patients with locally advanced cervical squamous cell carcinoma treated with radiation: A multicenter prospective cohort study

PLoS One. 2021 Nov 2;16(11):e0259235. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0259235. eCollection 2021.


There are currently no reliable, established serum biomarkers to predict the prognosis of radiotherapy for advanced cervical cancer. We aimed to identify serum biomarkers for survival after radiotherapy for cervical cancer. In this multicenter prospective cohort study, the usefulness of pre- and posttreatment serum protein levels of potential biomarkers, including squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCC-Ag), apolipoprotein C-II (ApoC-II), matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)1, and MMP2, were evaluated together with clinical factors in 145 cervical cancer patients in order to determine their suitability to predict survival. Progression-free survival (PFS) was the primary endpoint, and overall survival (OS), pelvic PFS (PPFS), and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) were the secondary endpoints. Blood samples were collected before and 1 month after radiotherapy to measure serum biomarker levels. ApoC-II was measured using a monoclonal antibody-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, which was developed for this purpose. Kaplan-Meier method, log-rank test, and univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used for statistical analyses. In multivariate analysis, larger tumor size was independently associated with shorter PFS, OS, PPFS, and DMFS, while longer overall treatment time was independently associated with shorter PPFS. Higher pretreatment SCC-Ag (P < 0.001) was associated with shorter DMFS. Higher posttreatment SCC-Ag (P = 0.017) was also associated with shorter DMFS. Pretreatment ApoC-II was associated with PPFS in univariate analysis (P = 0.048), but not in multivariate analysis. Patients with pretreatment ApoC-II levels ≤ 25.8 μg/ml had shorter PPFS than those with pretreatment ApoC-II levels > 25.8 μg/ml (P = 0.023, log-rank test). Pre- and posttreatment serum SCC-Ag and pretreatment serum ApoC-II levels may be important biomarkers to predict survival outcomes of patients with cervical cancer after radiotherapy. Pre- and posttreatment SCC-Ag and pretreatment ApoC-II might be useful in clinical settings for screening patients to improve treatment strategies in cervical cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, Neoplasm*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Serpins*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Serpins
  • squamous cell carcinoma-related antigen

Grants and funding

This study was supported by grants B 22390237 and B 25293266 from a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, Japan. This study was also supported by grants JROSG 10-4 from the Japanese Radiation Oncology Study Group.