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1.  Associations between Methylation of Paternally Expressed Gene 3 (PEG3), Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia and Invasive Cervical Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56325.
Cytology-based screening for invasive cervical cancer (ICC) lacks sensitivity and specificity to discriminate between cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) likely to persist or progress from cases likely to resolve. Genome-wide approaches have been used to identify DNA methylation marks associated with CIN persistence or progression. However, associations between DNA methylation marks and CIN or ICC remain weak and inconsistent. Between 2008–2009, we conducted a hospital-based, case-control study among 213 Tanzania women with CIN 1/2/3 or ICC. We collected questionnaire data, biopsies, peripheral blood, cervical scrapes, Human papillomavirus (HPV) and HIV-1 infection status. We assessed PEG3 methylation status by bisulfite pyrosequencing. Multinomial logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and confidence intervals (CI 95%) for associations between PEG3 methylation status and CIN or ICC. After adjusting for age, gravidity, hormonal contraceptive use and HPV infection, a 5% increase in PEG3 DNA methylation was associated with increased risk for ICC (OR = 1.6; 95% CI 1.2–2.1). HPV infection was associated with a higher risk of CIN1-3 (OR = 15.7; 95% CI 5.7–48.6) and ICC (OR = 29.5, 95% CI 6.3–38.4). Infection with high risk HPV was correlated with mean PEG3 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) methylation (r = 0.34 p<0.0001), while the correlation with low risk HPV infection was weaker (r = 0.16 p = 0.047). Although small sample size limits inference, these data support that PEG3 methylation status has potential as a molecular target for inclusion in CIN screening to improve prediction of progression.
Impact statement
We present the first evidence that aberrant methylation of the PEG3 DMR is an important co-factor in the development of Invasive cervical carcinoma (ICC), especially among women infected with high risk HPV. Our results show that a five percent increase in DNA methylation of PEG3 is associated with a 1.6-fold increase ICC risk. Suggesting PEG3 methylation status may be useful as a molecular marker for CIN screening to improve prediction of cases likely to progress.
PMCID: PMC3571954  PMID: 23418553
2.  Risk Factors for Persistent Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia Grades 1 and 2 Managed by Watchful Waiting 
This study examines risk factors for persistent cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and whether human papillomavirus (HPV) testing predicts persistent lesions.
Materials and Methods
Women with histologically diagnosed CIN 1 or CIN 2 (n = 206) were followed every 3 months without treatment. HPV genotyping, plasma levels of ascorbic acid, and red blood cell folate were obtained. Cervical biopsy at 12 months determined the presence of CIN. Relative risk (RR) was estimated by log-linked binomial regression models.
At 12 months, 70% of CIN 1 versus 54% of CIN 2 lesions spontaneously regressed (p< 0.001). Levels of folate or ascorbic acid were not associated with persistent CIN at 12 months. Compared to HPV negative women, those with multiple HPV types (RRs ranged from 1.68 to 2.17 at each follow-up visit) or high-risk types (RRs range = 1.74 to 2.09) were at increased risk for persistent CIN; women with HPV 16/18 had the highest risk (RRs range = 1.91 to 2.21). Persistent infection with a high-risk type was also associated with persistent CIN (RRs range = 1.50 – 2.35). Typing for high-risk HPVs at 6 months only had a sensitivity of 46% in predicting persistence of any lesions at 12 months.
Spontaneous regression of CIN 1 and CIN 2 occurs frequently within 12 months. HPV infection is the major risk factor for persistent CIN. However, HPV testing cannot reliably predict persistence of any lesion.
PMCID: PMC3652877  PMID: 21811178
cervical intraepithelial neoplasia; human papillomavirus
3.  A Lower Degree of PBMC L1 Methylation Is Associated with Excess Body Weight and Higher HOMA-IR in the Presence of Lower Concentrations of Plasma Folate 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54544.
Identification of associations between global DNA methylation and excess body weight (EBW) and related diseases and their modifying factors are an unmet research need that may lead to decreasing DNA methylation-associated disease risks in humans. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the following; 1) Association between the degree of peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) L1 methylation and folate, and indicators of EBW, 2) Association between the degree of PBMC L1 methylation and folate, and insulin resistance (IR) as indicated by a higher homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR).
The study population consisted of 470 child-bearing age women diagnosed with abnormal pap. The degree of PBMC L1 methylation was assessed by pyrosequencing. Logistic regression models specified indicators of EBW (body mass index–BMI, body fat–BF and waist circumference–WC) or HOMA-IR as dependent variables and the degree of PBMC L1 methylation and circulating concentrations of folate as the independent predictor of primary interest.
Women with a lower degree of PBMC L1 methylation and lower plasma folate concentrations were significantly more likely to have higher BMI, % BF or WC (OR = 2.49, 95% CI:1.41–4.47, P = 0.002; OR = 2.49, 95% CI:1.40–4.51, P = 0.002 and OR = 1.98, 95%  = 1.14–3.48 P = 0.0145, respectively) and higher HOMA-IR (OR = 1.78, 95% CI:1.02–3.13, P = 0.041).
Our results demonstrated that a lower degree of PBMC L1 methylation is associated with excess body weight and higher HOMA-IR, especially in the presence of lower concentrations of plasma folate.
PMCID: PMC3554730  PMID: 23358786
4.  T-Cell Response to Human Papillomavirus Type 58 L1, E6, and E7 Peptides in Women with Cleared Infection, Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia, or Invasive Cancer▿  
Human papillomavirus type 58 (HPV-58) exists in a relatively high prevalence in certain parts of the world, including East Asia. This study examined the T-cell response to HPV-58 L1, E6, and E7 peptides among women with cleared infection, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 (CIN2) or CIN3, or invasive cervical cancer (ICC). Peptides found to be reactive in the in vitro peptide binding assay or mouse-stimulating study were tested with a gamma interferon (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay to detect peptide-specific responses from the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) collected from 91 HPV-58-infected women (32 with cleared infection, 16 CIN2, 15 CIN3, and 28 ICC). Four HLA-A11-restricted HPV-58 L1 peptides, located at amino acid positions 296 to 304, 327 to 335, 101 to 109, and 469 to 477, showed positive IFN-γ ELISPOT results and were mainly from women with cleared infection. Two HLA-A11-restricted E6 peptides (amino acid positions 64 to 72 and 94 to 102) and three HLA-A11-restricted E7 peptides (amino acid positions 78 to 86, 74 to 82, and 88 to 96) showed a positive response. A response to E6 and E7 peptides was mainly observed from subjects with CIN2 or above. One HLA-A2-restricted E6 peptide, located at amino acid position 99 to 107, elicited a positive response in two CIN2 subjects. One HLA-A24-restricted L1 peptide, located at amino acid position 468 to 476, also elicited a positive response in two CIN2 subjects. In summary, this study has identified a few immunogenic epitopes for HPV-58 E6 and E7 proteins. It is worthwhile to further investigate whether responses to these epitopes have a role in clearing an established cervical lesion.
PMCID: PMC2944455  PMID: 20668141
5.  Mandatory fortification with folic acid in the United States appears to have adverse effects on histone methylation in women with pre-cancer but not in women free of pre-cancer 
To evaluate whether mandatory fortification of grain products with folic acid in the US is associated with changes in histone methylation in cells involved in cervical carcinogenesis.
Cervical specimens obtained before (1990 to 1992) and after mandatory folic acid fortification (2000 to 2002) were used to examine the degree of histone methylation (H3 Lys-9) by immunohistochemistry. 91 women (51 before and 40 after fortification) were diagnosed with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) grade 3 or carcinoma in situ (CIS) and sections utilized in the study also contained normal, reactive or metaplastic cervical epithelium, CIN 1 or CIN 2. 64 women (34 before and 30 after fortification) were free of CIN and these sections contained only normal or reactive cervical epithelium. Immunohistochemical staining for H3 Lys-9, its assessment in different cell or lesion types and data entry were blinded for fortification status. For each cell type or lesion category we used PROC MIXED in SAS with the specimen identifier as a random effect and the robust variance estimator to estimate age- and race-adjusted intensity score for H3 Lys-9 in the pre- and post-fortification periods.
Degree of H3 Lys-9 methylation was significantly higher (P < 0.0001) in ≥CIN 2 lesions (CIN 2, CIN 3 and CIS) than in ≤CIN 1 lesions (CIN 1, normal, reactive and metaplastic), in both pre- and post-fortification CIN 3/CIS specimens. Age- and race-adjusted mean H3 Lys-9 score was significantly higher in all cell or lesion types in CIN 3/CIS specimens obtained in the post-fortification period compared to pre-fortification period (P < 0.05, all comparisons). In contrast, in specimens obtained from women free of CIN, Lys-9 methylation in normal/reactive cervical epithelium was significantly lower in post-fortification specimens than in pre-fortification specimens (P = 0.03).
Higher levels of Lys-9 methylation in ≥CIN 2 compared to ≤CIN 1 lesions suggest that higher Lys-9 methylation is associated with progression of lower grade CIN to higher grade CIN. Higher Lys-9 methylation in cervical tissues of women diagnosed with CIN 3 in the post-fortification period than in pre-fortification period suggest that fortification may adversely affect histone methylation in already initiated cells. Lower Lys-9 methylation in normal/reactive cervical cells of women free of CIN in the post-fortification period than pre-fortification on the other hand suggests that fortification is likely to protect against initiation of carcinogenic process in the cervix. These results suggest that mandatory fortification with folic acid in the US seems to have different effects on cancer depending on the stage of carcinogenesis. Because this is the first study to report folic acid fortification-associated differences in histone methylation and because of the limitations inherent to the approach we have taken to demonstrate these differences, validation of the results in other study populations or with other techniques for assessing histone methylation is necessary.
PMCID: PMC2971712  PMID: 21072283
folic acid; fortification; histone methylation; cervix
6.  The Clinical Meaning of a Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia Grade 1 Biopsy 
Obstetrics and gynecology  2011;118(6):1222-1229.
To determine whether the diagnosis of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 1 (CIN1) increases the risk of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 (CIN3) above what is observed for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
Using data from the atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS) and low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL) triage study (ALTS), we compared the 2-year cumulative risk of CIN3 for women with an enrollment diagnosis of CIN1 (n = 594) (median age = 23 years) compared with those with negative histology or no biopsy taken at colposcopy (“no CIN1,” n = 570) (median age = 24 years). Baseline cervical specimens were tested for carcinogenic HPV by a clinical HPV test and HPV genotypes by polymerase chain reaction. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) as a measure of association of enrollment status, including CIN1 compared with no CIN1 diagnosis, with 2-year worst outcomes of CIN3.
The two-year risks of CIN3 were 10.3% (95%CI: 7.9%–13.0%) for women with CIN1, 7.3% (95%CI: 4.6%–10.9%) for negative histology, and 6.4% (95%CI: 3.8%–9.9%) for women referred to colposcopy and no biopsies were taken (p = 0.1). The 2-year risk of CIN3 for women positive for HPV16, HPV18, or other carcinogenic HPV genotypes was 19.1%, 13.9%, and 5.7%, respectively, and did not differ significantly by the baseline cytology interpretation (ASCUS or LSIL). Taking HPV genotypes into account, having a CIN1 (compared with no CIN1) was not a risk factor for developing CIN3 (OR = 0.99, 95%CI: 0.54–1.8).
A CIN1 diagnosis does not represent a significant risk factor for CIN3 above the risk attributed to its molecular cause, genotype-specific HPV infection.
PMCID: PMC3229199  PMID: 22105250
7.  Different cervical cancer screening approaches in a Chinese multicentre study 
British Journal of Cancer  2009;100(3):532-537.
To evaluate alternative cervical cancer screening methods, digital colposcopy and collection of cervical exfoliated cells for liquid-based cytology (LBC) and hybrid capture 2 (HC2) testing were performed among 2562 women aged 15–59 years in three study sites in the People's Republic of China (rural Shanxi province, Shenyang city in Liaoning province and Shenzhen city in Guangdong province). Visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) was also evaluated independently from colposcopy. A total of 74 cases of histologically confirmed cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 or worse (CIN2+) were identified, and 16 CIN2+ cases were imputed among unbiopsied women to correct for verification bias. Corrected sensitivity for CIN2+ was 37% for VIA, 54% for colposcopy, 87% for LBC with a threshold of atypical cells of undetermined significance (LBC⩾ASCUS), 90% for HC2, 84% for LBC using HC2 to triage ASCUS and 96% for positivity to LBC⩾ASCUS or HC2. For VIA, sensitivity was much lower among women ⩾40 years (12%) than those aged ⩽39 years (50%). Specificity varied from 77% for positivity to LBC⩾ASCUS or HC2, up to 94% for LBC using HC2 to triage ASCUS. In conclusion, LBC, HC2 and their combinations performed well, whereas VIA missed a majority of CIN2+, particularly in older women. Digital colposcopy performed better than VIA, but still missed nearly half of CIN2+ in this study.
PMCID: PMC2658545  PMID: 19127262
cervical cancer; screening; human papillomavirus; China
8.  Prevalence and Predictors of Colposcopic-Histopathologically Confirmed Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia in HIV-Infected Women in India 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8634.
Prevalence estimates of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) among HIV-infected women in India have been based on cervical cytology, which may have underestimated true disease burden. We sought to better establish prevalence estimates and evaluate risk factors of CIN among HIV-infected women in Pune, India using colposcopy and histopathology as diagnostic tools.
Previously unscreened, non-pregnant HIV-infected women underwent cervical cancer screening evaluation including standardized diagnostic colposcopy by a gynecologist. Histopathologic confirmation was conducted among consenting women with clinical suspicion of CIN. The prevalence of CIN was evaluated by a composite diagnosis based on colposcopy and histopathology results. Multivariable ordinal logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine independent predictors of increasing severity of CIN.
The median age of the n = 303 enrolled HIV-infected women was 30 years (interquartile range, 27–34). A majority of the participants were widowed or separated (187/303, 61.7%), more than one-third (114/302, 37.7%) were not educated beyond primary school, and nearly two-thirds (196/301, 64.7%) had a family per capita income of <1,000 Indian Rupees (∼US$22) per month. Cervical high-risk HPV-DNA was detected in 41.7% (124/297) of participants. The composite colposcopic-histopathologic diagnoses revealed no evidence of CIN in 220 out of 303 (72.6%) women, CIN1 in 33/303 (10.9%), CIN2 in 31/303 (10.2%), CIN3 in 18/303 (5.9%) and 1 (0.3%) woman was diagnosed with ICC. Thus, over a quarter of the participants [83/303: 27.7% (95% CI: 22.7–33.1)] had ≥CIN1 lesions and a sixth [50/303: 16.5% (95% CI: 12.2–21.9)] had evidence of advanced (≥CIN2) neoplastic disease. The independent predictors of increasing severity of CIN as revealed by a proportional odds model using multivariable ordinal logistic regression included (i) currently receiving antiretroviral therapy [adjusted odds ratios (aOR): 2.24 (1.17, 4.26), p = 0.01] and (ii) presence of cervical high-risk HPV-DNA [aOR: 1.93 (1.13, 3.28), p = 0.02].
HIV-infected women in Pune, India have a substantial burden of cervical precancerous lesions, which may progress to invasive cervical cancer unless appropriately detected and treated. Increased attention should focus on recognizing and addressing this entirely preventable cancer among HIV-infected women, especially in the context of increasing longevity due to antiretroviral therapy.
PMCID: PMC2798747  PMID: 20072610
9.  HPV Prevalence and Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia among HIV-infected Women in Yunnan Province, China: A Pilot Study 
To determine the prevalence of HPV and cervical neoplasia among HIV-infected women in southwestern China.
Cervical cytology, HPV detection by Hybrid Capture-2™ assay, and diagnostic colposcopy were followed by cervical biopsy if indicated. Logistic regression analysis was used to analyze associations between HPV co-infection and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), and HIV-related clinical and laboratory parameters.
Colposcopic-histopathologically proven CIN2+ lesions were present in 7/83 (8.4%) HIV-infected women. Nearly half (41/83, 43%) were co-infected with carcinogenic HPV genotypes. HPV co-infection was higher in women with colposcopic-histopathologically proven CIN2+ lesions than women with
HIV/AIDS care and treatment programs should integrate effective cervical cancer prevention services to mitigate the risk of invasive cervical cancer among HIV-infected women in China.
PMCID: PMC3809115  PMID: 22502720
China; HIV/AIDS; HPV; cervical cancer; screening; prevention
British Journal of Cancer  1997;76(11):1410-1415.
Squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix (SCC) is preceded by a premalignant condition known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). The majority of cases of CIN regress spontaneously; however, methods are needed to identify those lesions likely to progress. Increased blood vessel density, signifying angiogenesis, is an independent prognostic indicator in a number of cancers, although little is known about its significance in premalignant lesions. The aim of the present study was to determine the relationship between vessel density, expression of the potent angiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and CIN grade. Using immunohistochemistry, mean vessel density (MVD) and VEGF expression were assessed in samples from 54 patients who had undergone cone biopsy for CIN or hysterectomy for SCC and from 16 patients with no cervical pathology. There were significant increases in MVD and VEGF expression from normal cervix through CIN I to CIN III to invasive SCC, but no difference in mean vessel diameter between groups. There was a strong correlation between mean vessel density and VEGF expression, and both were associated with histological grade of CIN. The original MVDs for a small group of patients later presenting with recurrent disease were found to be equal to or greater than the mean for their histological grade. We conclude that the onset of angiogenesis is an early event in premalignant changes of the cervix due, in part, to enhanced expression of VEGF by the abnormal epithelium.
PMCID: PMC2228179  PMID: 9400935
Obstetrics and gynecology  2008;112(6):1335-1342.
To estimate the risks of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia-3 among women aged 13 to 24 years of age who were referred for abnormal cytology while receiving care in a large health maintenance organization.
At the time of referral, women had a colposcopic examination and biopsy if needed. Histology was sent to a centralized laboratory. Women were interviewed for risk behaviors. Data analysis included multinomial logistic regression analysis to compare 3 groups: CIN-3 to CIN-1 or less CIN-3 to CIN-2, and CIN-2 to CIN-1 or benign.
CIN-3 was found in 6.6% (95% CI = 4.6 - 8.6%) of the 622 women referred and no cancers were detected. Risk for CIN 3 compared to CIN 1 or less included HPV 16 or 18 (odds ratio [OR] 30.93 [95% confidence interval (CI); 6.95, 137.65]), high-risk, non-16/18 HPV (OR 6.3 [95% CI; 1.3, 29.4]), and time on oral contraceptives (OR 1.36 per year of use [95% CI ; 1.08, 1.71]).
Our data support conservative care for adolescents and young women with abnormal cytology since CIN-3 was rare, and cervical cancer was never found. HPV-16 or 18 were strongly associated with for CIN-3, and testing for these types may be warranted for triage of abnormal cytology in this age group.
PMCID: PMC2735396  PMID: 19037044
Cervical mucosal expression of cytokines involved in mediating cellular immunity is believed to influence the persistence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, a necessary prerequisite for the development of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). Additionally, regulatory T (Treg) cells are increasingly understood to be important modulators of cellular immunity. Using quantitative RT-PCR, we measured, in cross-sectional design, the cervical mRNA expression of IFN-γ, IL-10, and IL-12, as well as the Treg transcription factor Forkhead box P3 (Foxp3), in a cohort of young women representing CIN 1, 2, and 3 as well as benign histology. Higher levels of IFN-γ and IL-10 were significantly (p≤0.05) associated with decreased odds of having high-grade cervical disease (CIN 2 or 3) in multivariate logistic regression models. In contrast, higher levels of mucosal Foxp3 expression were associated with increased odds of having CIN 2 or 3 (p=0.004). In a multivariate model including cervical infection with HPV16 and/or another high-risk HPV type, Foxp3 remained higher in the CIN 2/3 group, but the difference was notably less significant (p=0.05). These findings support a model in which diminished cellular immunity in the cervical mucosa and mucosal enrichment of Treg cells both contribute to the development of high-grade lesions.
PMCID: PMC2696072  PMID: 19089920
cervical intraepithelial neoplasia; papillomavirus infections; cytokines; regulatory T cells; mucosal immunology
Cancer  2010;117(5):957-963.
Even though HPV 16 is the most common HPV genotype associated with cancerous lesions of the cervix, only a fraction of HPV 16 infected women are diagnosed with pre-cancerous lesions of the cervix. Therefore, molecular changes in HPV 16 rather than infections per se may serve as better screening or diagnostic biomarkers. The purpose of the study was to evaluate whether methylation status of specific regions of the HPV E6 gene promoter and enhancer is independently associated with the likelihood of being diagnosed with higher grades of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN 2+).
The study included 75 HPV 16 positive women diagnosed with CIN 2+ or ≤ CIN 1. Pyrosequencing technology was applied to quantify methylation at 6 cytosine guanine dinucleotide (CpG) sites of the HPV 16 E6 promoter and enhancer. CIN 2+ (yes/no) was the dependent variable in logistic regression models that specified the degree of methylation of the CpG sites of the HPV 16 E6 gene as the primary independent predictors. All models were adjusted for demographic, lifestyle, known risk factors for cervical cancer and circulating concentrations of “cancer-protective” micronutrients.
The odds of being diagnosed with CIN 2+ was 79% lower when the degree of methylation of the HPV 16 enhancer and promoter sites were ≥9.5% (OR= 0.21; 95% CI, 0.06–0.79; P=0.02).
Results suggested that CpG methylation is independently involved in the biology of HPV-16 as well as in the development of higher grades of CIN.
PMCID: PMC3023831  PMID: 20945322
HPV 16; methylation; cervical; neoplasia
Purpose. To describe the acquisition, persistence, and clearance of HPV infection in women with CIN 2 followed up for 12 months. Methods. Thirty-seven women with CIN 2 biopsy, who have proven referral to cervical smear showing low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions or atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance and tested for HPV, were followed up for one year with cervical smear, colposcopy, and HPV test every three months. HPV DNA was detected by the polymerase chain reaction and genotyping by reverse line blot hybridization assay. Results. CIN 2 regression rate was 49% (18/37), persistence as CIN 1 or CIN 2 was 22% (8/37), and progression to CIN 3 was 29% (11/37). Multiple HPV types were observed at admission in 41% (15/37) of cases. HPV 16 was detected at admission in 58% (11/19) of the cases that persisted/progressed and in 39% (7/18) of the cases that regressed. HPV 16 was considered possibly causal in 67% (10/15) of the cases that persisted or progressed and in 10% (1/10) of the cases that regressed (P = 0.01). Conclusion. Multiple HPV infections were frequently detected among women with CIN 2 at admission and during the followup. The CIN 2 associated with HPV 16 was more likely to persist or to progress to CIN 3.
PMCID: PMC3867922  PMID: 24369469
Persistent infection with oncogenic human papillomaviruses (HPV) plays a central etiologic role in the development of squamous carcinomas of the cervix and their precursor lesions, cervical intraepithelial neoplasias (CIN). We carried out a prospective observational cohort study evaluating known, quantifiable prognostic variables of clinical behavior in women with high-grade cervical lesions.
Experimental Design
Our study cohort included healthy women with high-grade cervical lesions (CIN2/3) with residual visible lesions after colposcopically directed biopsy. We prospectively followed 100 women over 15 weeks before standard resection. HPV typing was done using PCR and a reverse line blot detection method.
The rate of spontaneous histologic regression, defined as (CIN1 or less at resection) was 28%. The overall rate of HPV infection was 100%. HPV16 was identified in 68% of the lesions. Women with HPV16 only were significantly less likely to regress, compared with women with HPV types other than HPV16 (odds ratio, 0.342; 95% confidence interval, 0.117-0.997; P = 0.049). In the cohort with HPV16 only, patients who had an HLA*A201 allele had similar outcomes to those who did not carry A201. However, among patients with HPV types other than HPV16, the HLA*A201 allele interaction was significant; patients with HLA*A201 were the least likely to resolve.
CIN2/3 lesions associated with HPV16 alone are significantly less likely to resolve spontaneously than those caused by other types. Interactions among HPV type, HLA type, and regression rate support a role for HLA-restricted HPV-specific immune responses in determining disease outcome.
PMCID: PMC3132609  PMID: 16000566
British Journal of Cancer  1994;69(1):167-171.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) typing and quantitation by polymerase chain reaction was performed on exfoliated cells from 133 women referred for colposcopy because of an abnormal smear. High levels of HPV 16 correctly predicted cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) grade II-III in 93% of its occurrences, but only 59% of cases of CIN III were associated with high levels of this type. Eighty-four per cent of CIN III lesions contained high levels of at least one of HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33 and 35, but the other types were less specific for CIN III than HPV 16. Overall HPV testing compared favourably with cytology for predicting high-grade CIN lesions, but it would appear that some combination of the two modalities will produce better performance than either alone. In particular, HPV testing appears to be helpful in determining which women with mildly abnormal smears have high-grade underlying lesions in need of immediate referral for colposcopy.
PMCID: PMC1968760  PMID: 8286202
Obstetrics and gynecology  2009;113(1):18-25.
To estimate the fraction of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia-2 (CIN-2) that might regress if untreated using data from the atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS) and low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL) triage study (ALTS).
We compared the cumulative occurrence of CIN-2 (n = 397) and CIN-3 or worse (n = 542) diagnosed by the Pathology Quality Control Group in three trial arms— immediate colposcopy, human papillomavirus (HPV) triage, and conservative management— over the 2-year duration of the ALTS trial. A non-parametric test of trend was used to test for differences in the number of CIN-2 cases relative to number of CIN-3 or worse cases across study arms, with an increasing percentage of women referred to colposcopy at baseline.
There were no significant differences in the cumulative 2-year cumulative CIN-3 or worse diagnoses by study arm (10.9%, conservative management; 10.3%, HPV; 10.9%, immediate colposcopy) (ptrend = 0.8) but there was a significant increase in CIN-2 diagnoses (5.8%, conservative management; 7.8%, HPV triage; 9.9%, immediate colposcopy) (ptrend < 0.001) in the study arms with increasing number of women referred to colposcopy at baseline. The relative differences in CIN-2 by study arm among women who tested HPV16 positive at baseline were less pronounced (ptrend = 0.1) than women who tested positive for other high-risk HPV genotypes (ptrend = 0.01).
There was evidence that approximately 40% of undiagnosed CIN-2 will regress over 2 years but CIN-2 caused by HPV16 may be less likely to regress than CIN-2 caused by other high-risk HPV genotypes.
PMCID: PMC2694845  PMID: 19104355
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(4):1240-1244.
The triage of women with high-risk (HR) human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive smears for atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASC-US) to colposcopy is now an integrated option in clinical guidelines. The performance of cobas 4800 HPV and that of Hybrid Capture 2 (HC2) for HR HPV DNA detection in cervical samples in PreservCyt were compared in 396 women referred to colposcopy for ASC-US. Of these, 316 did not have cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), 47 had CIN1, 29 had CIN2 or CIN3 (CIN2+), and 4 had CIN of unknown grade. HR HPV was detected in 129 (32.6%) and 149 (37.6%) samples with HC2 and cobas 4800 HPV, respectively (P = 0.15). The clinical sensitivities and specificities for detecting CIN2+ were 89.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 72.8 to 97.2%) and 66.7% (95% CI, 61.7 to 71.3%) with cobas 4800 HPV and 93.1% (95% CI, 77.0 to 99.2%) and 72.2% (95% CI 67.4 to 76.5%) with HC2. The performance of cobas 4800 HPV was similar to that of HC2 for identifying women with ASC-US who would benefit the most from colposcopy.
PMCID: PMC3318562  PMID: 22301023
Journal of Clinical Pathology  1981;34(5):532-541.
In 202 women with koilocytotic atypia in cervical smears, 136 had predominantly small condylomata of the uterine cervix, and 66 had cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) of varying degree either with koilocytosis of the neoplasia or associated with condylomata. Koilocytosis correlated well with the histological diagnosis of condylomata, but occasionally it obscured the cytological evidence of CIN. Human papilloma virus particles were found in the cells of condylomata in 10 cases and in those of CIN II with koilocytosis in two cases of 21 examined ultrastructurally. There was evidence that the condyloma of the uterine cervix is a well-defined morphological entity and also that cytopathie changes similar to those seen in condylomata are present in some cases of CIN.
PMCID: PMC493338  PMID: 6265503
Essentially all squamous cervical cancers and their precursor lesions, high grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN2/3), are caused by persistent human papil-lomavirus (HPV) infection. However, not all CIN2/3 lesions progress to cancer. In a brief, observational study window monitoring subjects with CIN2/3 from protocol entry (biopsy diagnosis) to definitive therapy (cervical conization) at week 15, in a cohort of 50 subjects, we found that 26% of CIN2/3 lesions associated with HPV16, the genotype most commonly associated with disease, underwent complete histologic regression. Nonetheless, HPV16-specific T cell responses measured in peripheral blood obtained at the time of study entry and at the time of conization were marginally detectable directly ex vivo, and did not correlate with lesion regression. This finding suggests that, in the setting of natural infection, immune responses which are involved in elimination of cervical dysplastic epithelium are not represented to any great extent in the systemic circulation.
PMCID: PMC2913444  PMID: 20012604
Human papillomavirus (HPV); Cervical dysplasia; Regression; Systemic immune response
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8667.
HPV infrequently persists and progresses to cervical cancer. We examined host genetic factors hypothesized to play a role in determining which subset of individuals infected with oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) have persistent infection and further develop cervical pre-cancer/cancer compared to the majority of infected individuals who will clear infection.
We evaluated 7140 tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 305 candidate genes hypothesized to be involved in DNA repair, viral infection and cell entry in 416 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 3 (CIN3)/cancer cases, 356 HPV persistent women (median: 25 months), and 425 random controls (RC) from the 10,049 women Guanacaste Costa Rica Natural History study. We used logistic regression to compute odds ratios and p-trend for CIN3/cancer and HPV persistence in relation to SNP genotypes and haplotypes (adjusted for age). We obtained pathway and gene-level summary of associations by computing the adaptive combination of p-values. Genes/regions statistically significantly associated with CIN3/cancer included the viral infection and cell entry genes 2′,5′ oligoadenylate synthetase gene 3 (OAS3), sulfatase 1 (SULF1), and interferon gamma (IFNG); the DNA repair genes deoxyuridine triphosphate (DUT), dosage suppressor of mck 1 homolog (DMC1), and general transcription factor IIH, polypeptide 3 (GTF2H4); and the EVER1 and EVER2 genes (p<0.01). From each region, the single most significant SNPs associated with CIN3/cancer were OAS3 rs12302655, SULF1 rs4737999, IFNG rs11177074, DUT rs3784621, DMC1 rs5757133, GTF2H4 rs2894054, EVER1/EVER2 rs9893818 (p-trends≤0.001). SNPs for OAS3, SULF1, DUT, and GTF2H4 were associated with HPV persistence whereas IFNG and EVER1/EVER2 SNPs were associated with progression to CIN3/cancer. We note that the associations observed were less than two-fold. We identified variations DNA repair and viral binding and cell entry genes associated with CIN3/cancer. Our results require replication but suggest that different genes may be responsible for modulating risk in the two critical transition steps important for cervical carcinogenesis: HPV persistence and disease progression.
PMCID: PMC2801608  PMID: 20084279
Gynecologic oncology  2011;121(1):59-63.
Invasive cervix cancer (ICC) is the second most common malignant tumor in women. Human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) causes more than 50% of all ICC and is a major cause of cervix intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). DNA methylation is a covalent modification predominantly occurring at CpG dinucleotides. Such epigenetic modifications are associated with changes in DNA-protein interactions and gene activation. This study examined the association of viral and host genomic methylation patterns and cervix neoplasia.
Exfoliated cervical lavage samples positive for HPV16 from women with and without cytomorphic changes of infection (n=46), CIN2 (n=12), and CIN3+ (n=27) were used to interrogate the methylation patterns of the HPV16 L1 gene and upstream regulatory region (URR), five host nuclear genes (TERT, RARB, DAPK1, MAL, and CADM1), and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). DNA isolated from exfoliated cervicovaginal cells was treated with bisulfite, specific regions of the viral and host genome were PCR amplified and CpG methylation was quantified using EpiTYPER and pyrosequencing.
Methylation at 14 of the tested CpG sites within the HPV16 L1 region were significantly higher in CIN3+ compared to HPV16 genomes from women without CIN3+. In contrast, only 2 out of 16 CpG sites in HPV16 URR, 5/5 in TERT, 1/4 in DAPK1 and 1/3 mtDNA, and 2/5 in RARB were associated with increased methylation in CIN3+.
These results indicate that increased methylation of CpG sites in the HPV16 L1 ORF is associated with CIN3+ and thus, may constitute a potential biomarker for precancerous and cancerous cervix disease.
PMCID: PMC3062667  PMID: 21306759
cervical cancer; human papillomavirus; methylation
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29051.
Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 (CIN3), the immediate cervical cancer precursor, is a target of cervical cancer prevention. However, less than half of CIN3s will progress to cancer. Routine treatment of all CIN3s and the majority of CIN2s may lead to overtreatment of many lesions that would not progress. To improve our understanding of CIN3 natural history, we performed a detailed characterization of CIN3 heterogeneity in a large referral population in the US.
We examined 309 CIN3 cases in the SUCCEED, a large population-based study of women with abnormal cervical cancer screening results. Histology information for 12 individual loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) segments was evaluated for each woman. We performed case-case comparisons of CIN3s to analyze determinants of heterogeneity and screening test performance.
CIN3 cases varied substantially by size (1–10 LEEP segments) and by presentation with concomitant CIN2 and CIN1. All grades of CINs were equally distributed over the cervical surface. In half of the women, CIN3 lesions were found as multiple distinct lesions on the cervix. Women with large and solitary CIN3 lesions were more likely to be older, have longer sexual activity span, and have fewer multiple high risk HPV infections. Screening frequency, but not HPV16 positivity, was an important predictor of CIN3 size. Large CIN3 lesions were also characterized by high-grade clinical test results.
We demonstrate substantial heterogeneity in clinical and pathological presentation of CIN3 in a US population. Time since sexual debut and participation in screening were predictors of CIN3 size. We did not observe a preferential site of CIN3 on the cervical surface that could serve as a target for cervical biopsy. Cervical cancer screening procedures were more likely to detect larger CIN3s, suggesting that CIN3s detected by multiple independent diagnostic tests may represent cases with increased risk of invasion.
PMCID: PMC3258246  PMID: 22253702
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38342.
The SLIT2-ROBO1/2 pathways control diverse biological processes, including growth regulation. To understand the role of SLIT2 and ROBO1/2 in cervical carcinogenesis, firstly their RNA expression profiles were screened in 21 primary uterine cervical carcinoma (CACX) samples and two CACX cell lines. Highly reduced expressions of these genes were evident. Concomitant alterations [deletion/methylation] of the genes were then analyzed in 23 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and 110 CACX samples. In CIN, SLIT2 was deleted in 22% samples compared to 9% for ROBO1 and none for ROBO2, whereas comparable methylation was observed for both SLIT2 (30%) and ROBO1 (22%) followed by ROBO2 (9%). In CACX, alteration of the genes were in the following order: Deletion: ROBO1 (48%) > SLIT2 (35%) > ROBO2 (33%), Methylation: SLIT2 (34%) > ROBO1 (29%) > ROBO2 (26%). Overall alterations of SLIT2 and/or ROBO1 (44%) and SLIT2 and/or ROBO2 (39%) were high in CIN followed by significant increase in stage I/II tumors, suggesting deregulation of these interactions in premalignant lesions and early invasive tumors. Immunohistochemical analysis of SLIT2 and ROBO1/2 in CACX also showed reduced expression concordant with molecular alterations. Alteration of all these genes predicted poor patient outcome. Multiparous (≥5) women with altered SLIT2 and ROBO1 along with advanced tumor stage (III/IV) and early sexual debut (<19 years) had worst prognosis. Our data suggests the importance of abrogation of SLIT2-ROBO1 and SLIT2-ROBO2 interactions in the initiation and progression of CACX and also for early diagnosis and prognosis of the disease.
PMCID: PMC3374764  PMID: 22719878
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e86812.
The existence of Tc17 cells was recently shown in several types of infectious and autoimmune diseases, but their distribution and functions in uterine cervical cancer (UCC) have not been fully elucidated.
The frequency of Tc17 cells in peripheral blood samples obtained from UCC patients, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) patients and healthy controls was determined by flow cytometry. Besides, the prevalence of Tc17 cells and their relationships to Th17 cells and Foxp3-expressing T cells as well as microvessels in tissue samples of the patients were assessed by immunohistochemistry staining.
Compared to controls, patients with UCC or CIN had a higher proportion of Tc17 cells in both peripheral blood and cervical tissues, but the level of Tc17 cells in UCC tissues was significantly higher than that in CIN tissues. Besides, the increased level of Tc17 in UCC patients was associated with the status of pelvic lymph node metastases and increased microvessel density. Finally, significant correlations of infiltration between Tc17 cells and Th17 cells or Foxp3-expressing T cells were observed in UCC and CIN tissues.
This study indicates that Tc17 cell infiltration in cervical cancers is associated with cancer progression accompanied by increased infiltrations of Th17 cells and regulatory T cells as well as promoted tumor vasculogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3921122  PMID: 24523865

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