Purpose: Chemoradiotherapy for locally advanced cervical cancer fails in over a third of patients. Biomarkers with therapeutic implications are therefore needed. We investigated the relationship between an established prognostic marker, maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) on 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography, and the inflammatory and immune state of cervical cancers. Experimental Design: An SUVmax most prognostic for freedom from progression (FFP) was identified and compared with known prognostic clinical variables in a cohort of 318 patients treated with definitive radiation with prospectively collected clinical data. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) and CIBERSORT of whole-transcriptome data from 68 patients were used to identify biological pathways and immune cell subpopulations associated with high SUVmax. IHC using a tissue microarray (TMA, N ¼ 82) was used to validate the CIBERSORT findings. The impact of macrophages on cervical cancer glucose metabolism was investigated in coculture experiments. Results: SUVmax <11.4 was most prognostic for FFP (P ¼ 0.001). The GSEA showed that high SUVmax is associated with increased gene expression of inflammatory pathways, including JAK/STAT3 signaling. CIBERSORT and CD68 staining of the TMA showed high SUVmax tumors are characterized by a monocyte-predominant immune infiltrate. Coculture of cervical cancer cells with macrophages or macrophage-conditioned media altered glucose uptake, and IL6 and JAK/STAT3 signaling contribute to this effect. Conclusions: SUVmax is a prognostic marker in cervical cancer that is associated with activation of inflammatory pathways and tumor infiltration of myeloid-derived immune cells, particularly macrophages. Macrophages contribute to changes in cervical cancer glucose metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4245-4255
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


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