Lymphopenia and its association with survival in patients with locally advanced cervical cancer

Emily S. Wu, Titilope Oduyebo, Lauren P. Cobb, Diana Cholakian, Xiangrong Kong, Amanda N. Fader, Kimberly L. Levinson, Edward J. Tanner, Rebecca L. Stone, Anna Piotrowski, Stuart Grossman, Kara Long Roche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Objective To evaluate the association between lymphopenia and survival in women with cervical cancer treated with primary chemoradiation. Methods A single institution, retrospective analysis of patients with stage IB2-IVA cervical cancer who received upfront chemoradiation from 1998 to 2013 was performed. Complete blood counts from pre-treatment to 36 months post-treatment were analyzed. Lymphopenia and known prognostic factors were evaluated for an association with progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Results Seventy-one patients met study criteria for whom 47 (66%) had a documented total lymphocyte count (TLC) two months after initiating chemoradiation. FIGO stage distribution was 6% Stage I, 46% Stage II, 45% Stage III and 3% Stage IV. Pre-treatment TLC was abnormal (< 1000 cells/mm3) in 15% of patients. The mean reduction in TLC was 70% two months after initiating chemoradiation. Severe post-treatment lymphopenia (TLC < 500 cells/mm3) was observed in 53% of patients; they experienced inferior median OS (21.2 vs 45.0 months, P = 0.03) and similar 25th percentile PFS (6.3 vs 7.7 months, P = 0.06) compared to patients without severe lymphopenia. Multivariate analysis demonstrated pre-treatment TLC ≥ 1000 cells/mm3 and post-treatment TLC > 500 cells/mm3 had a 77% (HR: 0.23; 95%CI 0.05-1.03; P = 0.053) and 58% decrease in hazards of death (HR: 0.42; 95%CI 0.12-1.46; P = 0.17) respectively. Conclusion More than half of cervical cancer patients treated with chemoradiation experienced severe and prolonged lymphopenia. Although statistical significance was not reached, the findings suggest that pre- and post-treatment lymphopenia may be associated with decreased survival. Further research is warranted, given that lymphopenia could be a reversible prognostic factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-82
Number of pages7
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Cervical cancer
  • Chemoradiation
  • Lymphopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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