Objective: There is controversy in the prognostic value of infiltrating macrophages density within the human ovarian tumor microenvironment. The aim of this study is to examine the prognostic significance of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) that have an M2 polarized function in ovarian cancer.
Methods: Formalin-fixed, paraffin- embedded blocks were obtained from 42 ovarian cancer and 30 benign ovarian tumor patients who underwent surgery. The number of infiltrating macrophages and M2-polarized macrophages within tumor tissue by both CD68 and CD163 were evaluated. The correlation of CD68/CD163-positive macrophages number with clinical pathology staging, lymphatic metastasis, prognosis value, and post-surgery survival were caculated. All have the permission of ethical approval for the use of human tissue samples.
Results: A high number of macrophages expressing CD68 or CD163 were found in ovarian cancer tissue, there was significant difference according to the FIGO stage (P<0.05). The number of CD68- positive macrophages has no correlation with prognosis, while density and ratio of CD163-positive macrophages correlate negatively with prognosis.
Conclusion: Cancer related inflammation characterized by tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) was found in human ovarian cancer tissues. The ratio of TAMs rather than density of CD68-positive macrophages is associated with poor prognosis of ovarian cancer.