Activation of STimulator of INterferon Genes (STING) is important for induction of anti-tumor immunity. A dysfunctional STING pathway is observed in multiple cancer types and associates with poor prognosis and inferior response to immunotherapy. However, the association between STING and prognosis in virally induced cancers such as HPV-positive cervical cancer remains unknown. Here, we investigated the prognostic value of STING protein levels in cervical cancer using tumor tissue microarrays of two patient groups, primarily treated with surgery (n = 251) or radio(chemo)therapy (n = 255). We also studied CD103, an integrin that marks tumor-reactive cytotoxic T cells that reside in tumor epithelium and that is reported to associate with improved prognosis. Notably, we found that a high level of STING protein was an independent prognostic factor for improved survival in both the surgery and radio(chemo)therapy group. High infiltration of CD103+ T cells was associated with improved survival in the radio(chemo)therapy group. The combination of STING levels and CD103+ T cell infiltration is strongly associated with improved prognosis. We conclude that combining the prognostic values of STING and CD103 may improve the risk stratification of cervical cancer patients, independent from established clinical prognostic parameters.
- cervical cancer
- human papillomavirus (HPV)